Monday, June 24, 2013

Aging in the Dance of Life

I came across this photo recently and it is an illustrated reminder of the elderly among us who still have the vibrancy of youth in their hearts.  As bodies give in to the eventual process of growing old, the essence within is timeless and hardly seems compatible with the aging form it lives in.  I found this quote by Doris Lessing which fits this very thought: 
"The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven't changed in seventy or eighty years.  Your body changes, but you don't change at all.  And that, of course, causes great confusion."

The dance of life, if we are allowed to live through all its rhythms, ends in a reflective waltz holding close past memories and present day living with future challenges.   A life, long lived, has many stories to tell, wisdom to share and a witness to changing times and world events.  They teach a younger person a few facts about life, attitude and purpose.  It is inspiring to be around an older person who still has a twinkle in their eye, a humorous outlook, solid advice to give and look forward to the tomorrows in his or her life.  What their age is seems insignificant, a figure that is irrelevant as they push themselves to the next level of interest and motivate themselves to try a new thing or ponder a new idea.  They are involved with life enjoying each new day and being available as a friend to all ages.  Many have a deep faith in God, which is active and alive on a daily basis.  They have lived through tragedies, which could have sidelined them in life, but they persevered and came back stronger.  Even some into their nineties are still able to live in their own homes and capable of doing for themselves with limited or no assistance.  After a visit with a person like this, I walk away with a lighter heart by just being around them.  From my observance of these elderly, several things stand out which makes them exceptional. 

"Don't call me old!"
- Refuse to be old.... age is just a number and does not deter them as to how they should live their lives and go on to achieve goals using their energies to complete dreams and make new ones.
- Do not use age as an excuse.... they are up for the challenge and resist the easy way out.  They push themselves to learn and explore ideas in this fast changing world.  Age does not stop them in moving forward with their lives.
- Enthused about life... are positive in outlook and have developed the technique of "letting go" those things which stunt their inner growth.  They seek to have purpose and look for opportunities to be useful.
 - Pro-active.... have been habitual most of their lives with some form of physical activity and use preventative care in their health and foster spiritual well being.
Support system.... through the years, they have developed a base of friends and family, perhaps a favored pet to share their lives with.  They are of all ages, having a common bond in heart connection, which allows much laughter and a place to share their beliefs, interests and love.
- Overcomers.... There are those who are restricted in movement because of a handicap or illness that limits their physical abilities.  They might have financial hardships.  However, it does not daunt their spirit and soul, which exudes inspiration and encouragement to others.  They do not waste their time on complaints and what could have been but rather on appreciation of each day and finding the blessings of God, which unfold continuously in their lives.

There are different scenarios within the aging populace.  What I have just written is on the upside in the world of the elderly and I have met many who fit this description.  On the downside, there are those who have not fared as well, spending the winter of their lives with acute physical ailments as well as mental and emotional problems.  At one time, they may have had vitality in their older age but deteriorated in health due to accident, disease or a medical condition and have given up the fight.  Many are in wheelchairs with crippled legs and backs; others are crippled in mind with Alzheimer and Dementia; some are bed ridden, vacant in both body and mind.  Unable to feed themselves, they are dependent on others to stay alive. We do not live in a perfect world where hardships and suffering co-exist with comfort and wellness.

A common malady throughout the community of the aged is loneliness and depression.  It is particularly hard for an older person who has no family and may have outlived their friends and find they have no familiar ones in their lives.  They spend their days without a visitor and often lose interest in living.  A lingering faith may keep them going, but it helps when someone shows up with the love of God to express caring, to hold their hand and let them know that they are still valuable.

There is an encouraging scripture in 2 Corinthians 4:16, which states:  "So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day."   Many of you may know a familiar song, called "Morning Has Broken" - a beautiful hymn with a meaningful message about renewal.  We all have a new day every day and especially at the close of our lives.  Our spirit lives on, as it is ageless, eternal, even as the body withers and fades away for our destiny is beyond the mortal and lies in the divine bosom of God.

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light Eden saw play.
Praise with elation, praise every morning,
God's recreation of the new day.

"The Garfield 27 Studio" by Wolfgang, presents a beautiful video with artist, Ann Williamson singing.  Morning Has Broken was first published as a hymn in 1931.  The words were written by English author, Eleanor Farjeon to the tune "Bunessan", composed in the Scottish Highlands.

See you next Monday where we'll meet again at The Turn-Up Patch.  Until then, if you have the opportunity, hug an elderly - give them your smile and a little time out of your day in acknowledgment of their worth.

AND ALWAYS REMEMBER this great quote by Hilary Cooper:  "Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

No comments:

Post a Comment