I love to watch Alberta Hunter, the octogenarian blues singer, perform -- she sparkles! unlike Miss Hunter, some people find it difficult to maintain a sense of worth once they pass retirement age. But instead of sinking into a slough of despair, we can continue to be valuable as we mature.
If older people look at themselves from a spiritual basis, they'll see quite a different picture of senior citizens from that so often presented on TV. The Bible says that God "blessed" man. n1 how? With His Love -- He is Love. With spiritual sense -- He is Spirit. We have abundant health, supply, and energy, for god is Life. This view of ourselves is a far cry from the crude characterization of the elderly as bumblers, incapable of doing much besides falling off a rocking chair!
n1 See Genesis 1:27,28.
We need to be alert not to assume this stereotype unconsciously. Defending ourselves against the common -- and mistaken -- views of old age requires constant attention to what we think.
Incorrect concepts of man as mortal, subject to dying and disease, induce feelings of hopeless inadequacy. But as the vital reflection of God, we have real worth. God requires His ideas to express Him eternally. We are never separated from God, are always of value and importance. No one fades into obscurity.
As God's offspring, we manifest qualities of excellence that never vary. It's natural for us to give joy, to express beauty, goodness, and affection.
"But here I am sitting around with nothing to do, nowhere to go, and no one caring about me." If that's what you're thinking, you're acting out a stereotype of old age. Why accept it? Wherever you are, someone needs your kindness and good example. You can help immensely to prove this great fact: Nothing can obscure God's love for all his creation.
Searching the Gospels for the qualities Christ Jesus lived is illuminating. He knew well his closeness to God. "I and my Father are one," n2 he said. At the crucifixion he seemed alone, deserted by friends, but he stuck to his mission and maintained his sense of worth all through those profoundly trying times.
n2 John 10:30;
Courage can be ours, too, just as Jesus made it his.
The evidence that we are needed less and less a time goes by may seem conclusive. But that's not true. For one thing, time has no relation to God, divine Life, or to His creation. Life is eternal, and so is man.
Each of us has important things to do today. Praying, for instance -- for ourselves, for our community, our nation, the world. We shouldn't be drifting off into limbo. Mary Baker Eddy n3 writes, "Many sleep who should keep themselves awake and waken the world." n4
n3 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n4 Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 17;
Prayer that acknowledges God's omnipotence and the fact that we are His offspring wil reveal our special talents. This prayer, however, isn't a rehearsal of words but a deep searching for understanding. And its result is not some miraculous signal of personal favor but deep character change. Fear and timidity disappear, and we gain self- esteem. Dormant abilities and ways to use them to help others -- as well as to forward our own growth -- become apparent.
Mrs. Eddy writes, "Happiness consists in being and in doing good; only what God gives, and what we give ourselves and others through His tenure, confers happiness; conscious worth satisfies the hungry heart, and nothing else can." n5 Let's embrace this "conscious worth." Our true value is immeasurable because God gives it. What a liberating force this knowledge is -- at any age!
n5 ibid.,m p. 17.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Colossians 4:5,6