A year or so ago, two of the teen aged girls at Open Door Home in our city needed to interview an older person for a school assignment. Open Door is a home for children whose parents can not or will not care for them.
I meet the criteria for “older person” so the Director at Open Door, Beth called me and asked if I would mind stopping by so the girls could interview me.
Beth, who holds a Masters in Social Work, has been at Open Door for 10 years and was instrumental in building a much needed Open Door Home for Boys 12 years of age and older in additon to the older home for young children and older girls that was established here in our city 50 years ago.
Beth's good balance between love and discipline has helped to grow the two locations into "Home" for the children and youth rather than a business.
I went by and Beth introduced me to the girls. One of the girls was a 14 year old named Sarah . Beth told me, in Sarah’s hearing, how proud she is of Sarah for making good marks in school. I congratulated Sarah and expressed interest so she immediately got her report card to show me. We had a nice visit.
When we started the interview, the first question Sarah asked was, “To what do you attribute living to such a long old age?” The other girls also asked questions related to "old age." Later when Beth was showing me out, she said she hoped the girls did not hurt my feelings by making such an issue of my “old age.”
Of course, Beth knew as well as I that it did not bother me. When I lived in the Atlanta area, I was not as ancient as I am now but I often spoke to Senior Citizens groups on subjects related to aging as my undergraduate degree included a certificate in Gerontology.
One of the persons I love to quote when I speak to a civic or church group about “aging” is Madeline L’Engle. L'Engle said,“One of the nice things about growing old is you do not lose any of the other ages you have been.”
Wow! Think of that!
It is true. Like Sarah, I know what it was like to be 14 and think 30 is old. I know what it is like to be 30 and think 50 is old. I know what it is like to be 50 and think 80 is old. I know what it is like to be 80 and know that 80 and even 100 is just a number! I know also it is a number nearer the end of the counting.
But at the end of the counting, a new day will dawn and the counting will start over. We gather in church every Sunday to celebrate the truth that what we call “time” does not have the last word over what God calls eternity. For the Christian, "Death" does not have the last word over what God calls "life!"