During a visit to the retirement home, I asked the director, “How do you determine whether or not a person should be institutionalized?”
“Well,” said the Director, “We fill up a bathtub, and then we offer a teaspoon, a teacup, and a bucket to the patient and ask him or her to empty the bathtub.”
“Oh, I understand,” I said. “A normal person would use the bucket because it’s bigger than the spoon or the teacup.” “No,” said the Director. “A normal person would pull the plug. Do you want a bed near the window?”*
This Sunday, we will celebrate Senior Adult Day. I am reminded more and more with each passing day that I am fast becoming a Senior Adult myself. After all, I am a lot closer to age 65 than I am to age 21. (Sadly, I might add, the confirmation of this is increasingly and painfully evident every time I look into a mirror.)
Add to that the disconcerting fact that my daughter recently told me to mind my manners toward her, as she, being the eldest child, would be the one to pick my nursing home one day! Ouch!!
All jokes aside, Senior Adults do have value. Let me illustrate this for you. My sister runs a home decorating store where she sells furniture - both new and used. Whenever she shops estate sales, etc..., she is particularly interested in any used furniture that has not been refinished. Why? Because she knows that used furniture is often considered more valuable if it has plainly visible signs of stress.
You see, whereas, at one time, people used to refinish old furniture, now they typically do not. These days, used furniture is valued more in accordance with its signs of wear and tear than what it would have looked like when it was brand new. This is because the stressing evident on a given piece of furniture is what gives that piece its own unique character.
Perhaps the same can be said for each of us as individuals. Maybe the stress of life is what makes each of us the beautiful person God intends us to be. I believe that the Book of Proverbs (20:29) affirms this when it says, “The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.”
Most senior adults that I know are reasonably proud of their gray hair, as each and every one they have represents some kernel of wisdom they have garnered along the road of life. And that is why I so love this particular Bible verse. For me, it illustrates just how much the various generations need one another.
Think about it. Each generation has its respective part to play. Young people are usually very strong, but they often need guidance in how to apply that strength. Conversely, most Senior Adults are not quite as strong physically as they once were, but they do have lots of wisdom. In this sense, both groups have value.
And where does wisdom come from? Very often from experience. Perhaps you have heard the old adage: “Employing good judgment comes from experience, which itself often comes from having employed bad judgment!” The point is that the more of life one has lived, the more wisdom he or she has likely accumulated.
So, be thankful for those Senior Adults whom God has chosen to place in your path. Be sensitive to them, and learn from them. The wisdom they have to offer may well save you a little stress, not to mention a scar or two of your own.