1 Peter 5:4 [speaking to the elders] And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
The other day I happened to be in the passenger seat instead of driving, as I normally would be. Off on the sidewalk, as we sat at the red light, I noticed an elderly woman with a cane, gray hair, bent over, wearing a coat. I can’t remember what she was doing, just walking slowly along.
I smiled because a thought came to mind that I had never had before in quite the way I did. My thought was: “I’m so glad I have one of those.” My mind had never put it together in those particular words, but there it was. Seeing that woman put a smile on my face because it occurred to me that not everybody has one of those precious jewels in their life. I immediately voiced a prayer of thanks, as I often do, to Jesus for the gift I have – an elder.
I thought about how far astray our world has gone with no rudder to tell us right from wrong, having forgotten about the Holy Bible and the Word of God to guide us. This is reflected in our obvious lack of respect for our elderly men and women who we think we’re so much smarter than. Ha! What a joke!
When it all blows up in our faces, we’ll see how wrong we were to abandon the old paths. “But they said, We will not walk therein.”
I am not saying all elderly are good and the younger of us bad. Nothing is as black and white as that. But I am saying, unless you are spiritually blind, you can see the black immoral hole we are sinking into, and one sign of it is the despicable way we, sadly, arrogantly, and stupidly, often treat our elderly.
Please join me in remembering to smile and give attention to an elder if you are blessed in that you “have one” or if you are fortunate to come across an elder in the course of your day. Slow down when you speak to elders, listen with your heart. You, too, will one day be in their shoes, unless God ends your life while you are still young. Cherish, listen. Be patient. You will be richer for it. God will bless you.
Well, after that day, and with a light heart, I later sat down and wrote the following poem about my favorite elderly lady.
“If You Have an Elder…”
Cherish him or her.
They’re a rare gift, getting rarer all the time.
They know a lot, without necessarily
knowing they know.
They can tell when something doesn’t smell right,
doesn’t look right, doesn’t sound right.
There’s very little they haven’t heard before
except maybe the weirdness we have today that
you can’t even explain to them because it’s so nonsensical.
They make a scrunched up face that says,
Stupid. Nonsense. Don’t waste my time, or
What are you saying?
An example is when I tell my special elderly lady
that in school they’re discouraged from using the words
boy and girl because it could offend a 5-year-old
who’s not sure yet which of those s/he wants to be.
Or if the lady says at lunchtime, Let’s go for Chinese,
I say, Careful. You might get nasty looks because that’s racist.
And when I told her that in Portland, Oregon,
they banned brown bags in school lunches
on account of it being racist and offensive
to brown people.
She just said, Ridiculous. Stupid.
And did you know men call themselves women and win
in women’s sports all the time now?
What are you talking about?
I’m glad she doesn’t know.
I wish I didn’t.
It’s nice to talk to people who agree
this stuff is bizarre
rather than accepting it as the way things are.
My own special elder and me,
we like to call ourselves Laurel and Hardy.
She Laurel (thin), me Hardy (chubby).
Or sometimes it’s Abbott and Costello,
with a lot of Who’s-on-First routines.
But if I had to use one word,
it’d be feisty.
“Control,” she says.
“They want control.”
Yes, Ms. Feisty knows how
to stand up for her rights.
She should. She grew up
decades ago in Brooklyn
where you had to be tough.
And with her very Sicilian name
the kids teased her
and she beat them up.
And when her
how poor we’ll be!
Please be humble,
listen to an elder.
The old paths are good
to walk in.
Walk in the old paths
with an elder, today.
And if you “have one”
Oh, how blessed you are!
Thank you, Jesus.