Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Growing Old


I am an old woman! Even if i did not know my birth date, I would see my age in the faces of others. It is interesting to grow old.

My husdand and I married as teen agers and wanted a large family. After our youngest, David was in school, I enrolled in college classes as a “spare time” or hobby activity.

As a pastor's wife and mother of seven, spare time was not readily available. I started as a Histoy major but suppose I aged into the study of aging. I finally earned a Bachelor of Interdisciplinay Studies, and in addition, a Certificate in Gerontology after our children had earned college degrees and were married.

While a student at Georgia State, one day I was writing a paper about “growing older” for one of my Gernotology classes. I sat at my desk looking at the last two words I had typed. Two words; not just one! “Old” may be a word we avoid but “growing” in one that opens up all kinds of positive possibilities.

To some degree, at least, we can choose to grow old rather than just get old.

My internship in Gerontology was at the Christian City Complex which included a nursing home, assisted living, Alzheimer’s unit and retiree homes. I saw examples of both kinds of aging. Some grew as they aged. Others just got older in fear and bitterness.

It is true that often when we walk in Nursing Homes and see blank stares and some pitiful conditions, we think “old” is tragic and say in our hearts, “Oh Lord, I do not want to get that old.”

However, statistics tell us most of the elderly live in their own homes and take care of themselves. The percentage of the “frail… disabled” is small, much les than 10% the last time I checked.

Regardless of our present age, if we live long enough there is an old man or an old woman in our future:

Someday . . .Somehow . . .Somewhere in time
She's waiting . . . I will see
The old woman . . .Time is making
Time is making . . .out of me!

Will she be a sad complainer?
A fretful tenant of the earth?
Or a kind, productive person
Filled with happiness and mirth?

Please be patient . . . God is making
Molding slowly . . . Out of me
A shining portrait . . . He has promised.
Just you wait and see.

He is smoothing out the roughness,
Polishing the dreary places
Filling life with joy and gladness
Pouring out His gifts and graces.

God remake me . . . in Your image.
I want to like her . . . when I see
The old woman . . . time is making,
Time is making . . . out of me!

by Ruth Baird Shaw <><


Carol said...

"Grow old - don't get old." I really like that attitude.

Amanda said...

I love you Grandmother!