Those were the times! We could eat like a horse and not look like one. All of the school teachers were older than we were, and professional athletes were about the age of our older brothers. Life was an open highway.
Then came the subtle hints of mortality. The neighborhood kids call you “Mister” or “Mam.” Your parents start acting like your children. Your friends ask you why you squint when you read road signs.
And then there is the tell-tale mirror. What was tight now sags. What once swung now bounces. Everything hurts when you wake up. What doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work. We bend down to straighten the wrinkles in our socks and we realize we aren’t wearing any.
Next week, I wake up a year older. All my life I was taught to respect my elders, now I am one! So, what are we elders to do? Just because we are over the top of the hill doesn’t mean we’ve passed our peak. Our final chapters can be some of our best. Our final works can be some of our most significant.
We need to dare to reclaim the enthusiasm for life we had in our childhood. The wisest are not the ones with the most years in their lives, but the most life in their years.
Research has revealed close relationships add vitality and longevity to our lives. Men who kiss their wives every day are shown to live five years longer than men who don’t. Science has also shown that we need the equivalent of 17 affirming touches or verbal affirmations a day in order to thrive. Our world around us is starving. In the name of God, let’s help each other thrive by making sure that we share at least 17 affirming hugs, appropriate touches, or verbal affirmations each day with others.
Also, pet your pets. Pet all your loved ones: your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, your animals. Petting animals and loved ones lowers blood pressure.
And don’t forget to laugh a lot. A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (Proverbs 17:22) Take a break and do something silly. There’s holiness in humor. Laughter helps keep us from taking life too seriously. One research study revealed that over fifty percent of all illnesses in the test group were stress related. Laughter really is good medicine, especially when stress is concerned. The joy of the Lord is our strength!
Until the time God calls us home and our journey ends, it would do us well to follow the parting encouragement of Michelangelo found in a handwritten note to his apprentice after his death: “Draw Antonio, draw, and do not waste time.”
Good advice for us all. Time slips, days pass, years fade, life ends. What we came to do must be done while there is time.
We were made to live forever. Now, however, we live but for a moment. Let us seize those moments. Let us live for the moments we have, giving praise to our God for those special people and moments in this journey we call life.