For instance, a 96 year old World War Two veteran named Bob Barger is about to be awarded his college degree! Nearly seven decades after he sacrificed the standard agenda of youth to defend our country and our freedoms, he is fulfilling a lifelong dream.
It seems he had amassed enough college credit for an Associate's Degree prior to the war; but such degrees were not offered at the time. Now all of that is being honored and he is being awarded a degree. Kudos to him and everyone who helped to make this day possible for him! By the way, he jokes that he now wants to find a cushy job where he can play golf.
Another headline announced that a 90 year old man named Herschel McGriff Sr. will be competing this Saturday in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series West Race at Arizona’s Tucson Speedway. As he does, he will be making history as the oldest-known person ever to compete in a NASCAR race.
I especially like the way the article ends…
He’s got more planned after he finishes this race, in the race of life. “There’s still a few things I need to do yet… I figure I got another 10 years to go,” McGriff Sr. said. “I’ll get a lot done in the next 10 years.”
Once again, kudos to Mr. McGriff and those who support and affirm him. Like Mr. Barger above, here is a man who has chosen to stay passionate and actively set and pursue new goals each and every day that God has given him.
To be sure, this is due in large part to his own willingness to choose life. However, it is also due in part to the willingness of others to undergird him and sustain him in the pursuit of his dreams.
What a contrast to one last sobering headline in the news this week. According to the Washington Post, a lonely Chinese Senior Adult man with nowhere else to turn took out an ad this week and put himself up for adoption. The article states:
“Lonely old man in his 80s. Strong-bodied. Can shop, cook and take care of himself. No chronic illness. I retired from a scientific research institute in Tianjin, with a monthly pension of 6,000 RMB ($946) a month,” Han Zicheng wrote on a flyer last December, “I won’t go to a nursing home. My hope is that a kind-hearted person or family will adopt me, nourish me through old age and bury my body when I’m dead.”
The article went on to state that elderly Chinese people have traditionally been cared for by their kids and grandchildren. However, a combination of China’s one-child per family policy and the changing attitudes of younger people has led to tens of millions of older people like Han now finding themselves struggling without support.
As sad as that is, I could not help but reflect that one does not need to go to China to find precious seniors who have no one who seems to love or care for them. As hard as it is to admit, we can see the same thing right here in America.
It will always be appropriate for churches to set aside special times to emphasize and honor senior adults. But it will always be even more important for each of us as individuals to do this on a regular basis.
And part of what is required in honoring them is to undergird and support them, not only in their dreams and aspirations, but also in their ongoing everyday basic needs.
Even those with very little knowledge of the Bible and its contents are likely aware that the Scriptures tell us to honor our parents. While it is good that we have ample agencies and institutions designed to assist our seniors in the living of their lives, this does not absolve us of taking the initiative and assuming the responsibility to love and encourage them ourselves.
As God gives us that opportunity, may we be faithful to do so! And may we never reach the point that our seniors have to take out ads begging for someone to love and support them!
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/bsb/ephesians/6.htm.