I’ve noticed myself often looking at someone younger wistfully for their strength and stamina or someone older for their stability and wisdom, but in doing so I am almost wishing away my journey, for I will never be anyone or in anytime other than the present. And surprisingly, when we look at others and think , Oh to be young again and have no health problems, or we look at those a bit older and think, wow, they’ve done all the hard yards and are now reaping the benefits of all that hard work and wise decisions, we must remember that no matter our age, each phase of our journey will come with different goals, expectations, opportunities and trials.
I look back on when I was young and think how much more enjoyable it could have been if I had embraced my younger years, my inexperience and my limited resume! I had YOUTH! Fully moveable joints, a clear slate to go and do and be and experience the world God had waiting for me! I look back now and see so much insecurity, self-doubt and the voices that sing their lullabies. Sometimes things happen that are outside our control and we are left to deal with hurts they cause, but I can attest to God’s goodness that He does heal and he does restore! In fact, He’s the Master of healing and restoration. So my advice to the ‘younger than me’ generation is this: if you’re struggling with negative self-talk, scars from a not-so-great upbringing or simply just not finding ‘joy’ in your journey, seek God in His Word like your life depends on it – ’cause it does! Seek out good Christian counsel, talk to a Chappie if you know one, or ask God to lead you to a mentor – someone who is a bit further along the journey and can help you avoid some of the pitfalls they might have fallen into when they were younger. Don’t underestimate the value of those with more candles on their cake than calories! Which brings me to my next point…
Wow, I love our older generations. I get the privilege in community nursing to work with the 60-95yr old age group and I think they’re amazing – most of them anyway! Sadly, a lot of them don’t realise how precious they are with their incredible resilience and life experience. Did you ever think that someone in their 90s has been impacted by two world wars (they would have have family members coming back, deeply impacted by WW1 even if they weren’t born yet), the Great Depression, major industrial changes including big changes in the rights’ of women and then we all have a bit of an idea about the craziness of the 60s and 70s. These same people like well-weathered ships, have then experienced a pandemic like nothing else in their lifetime (the last pandemic was the Spanish Flu of 1918), which has rocked their very foundations of family and independence. So many of our wonderful elders live in fear of becoming sick and yearn for the time they can hug their children and grandchildren again. And for those in residential facilities such as nursing homes, the restrictions placed due to the pandemic is often more severe and limiting. These people have often contributed so much to our society and to our way of life and don’t be fooled by the quiet demeanour some may have! I’ve met some pretty amazingly, adventurous people who have travelled to the other side of the world, with little money, no internet or phones or language guides and shared the love of God because they chose to courageously follow Him! Unfortunately, one of the struggles for this generation is feeling needed and finding purpose when their lives are not filled with chasing after children, running off to jobs or being busy in this or that group or committee. Don’t get me wrong- some of this age group still do all these things and are a wonderful support to their children and communities, but their does come a time for most when these things slowly drop off due to their own health or the health of a loved one and with that can come a loss of identity and sense of importance. I would love this age group to know just like the other generations, You are loved! You have purpose! You are still here because God has a work for you to do! You have a wonderful story to tell of God’s faithfulness and you can pray, pray and pray! I want our elders to know they are so special to God and are still powerful warriors in His mighty army. May they continue to look to Him for their daily bread and not lose the fire to share the Gospel and be the light! Their earthly body may start to fade but that just makes the light of the Gospel shine from them even brighter!
And of course there is my age group – the 40 somethings to 50 somethings, but I will save us for another day! What I would like us all to go away with after reading this is be kind to yourself, be kind to those younger and be kind to those older. We are all frail humans who need our Saviour’s love whatever our age and the struggles that that entails. Don’t look at others as older, younger, washed-up, inexperienced or finished, but let us ask Christ to give us fresh eyes to see others as He does, and to love our neighbour as ourself. Lord, help us to humbly help each other on this journey called life – ’til we see you face to face!
We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God and God lives in them.1 John 4:16