Never too old

A Christian Science perspective.

The golfing world had held its breath. As a former professional golfer, I watched in awe and wonder. Could he do the impossible?

Tom Watson, five-time British Open golf champion, who had defeated Jack Nicklaus in the Open of 1977, was poised in 2009 – at 59 years young – to win his sixth title and beat the best young golfers in the world, including Tiger Woods. He had "only" to make a simple par on the 72nd hole. Every ancient and many not-so-ancient golfers around the globe were cheering him on. But he faltered on his last putt and lost in a playoff. Scribes will wax lyrical for a long time on his remarkable effort.

The almost-champion said in the press interview after the event, "This is not a funeral." To many golfers, it felt like one. To many others, however, for him to dare to think and to even pronounce publicly that he thought he could compete and win – that he was not there just as a celebratory ceremonial personality – was not bravado but solid belief and conviction, which he went on to prove was well founded.

This can be a signal to everyone, athlete or not. Mr. Watson's feat can lift the human spirit and consciousness to recognize that much is possible, no matter what one's age. No, we are not "over the hill" at 40, 50, 60, or 70. Opportunity is not lost.

Many people believe that the human mind and body can lose their capacity, their elasticity, and that we are less likely to work or compete beyond a certain age. But the Bible offers evidence that we don't have to accept this.

According to the Bible, Caleb said, "The Lord hath kept me alive ... and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five [85] years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in" (Josh. 14:10, 11). And Deuteronomy says of Moses that at 120 years "his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated" (34:7).

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, founded this newspaper while in her late 80s. Her discovery of the Principle underlying Jesus' healings gave her the understanding of life as spiritual – that the material measurement of age doesn't define the life of the man and woman of God's creating. She wrote: "Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than three score years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise. Man, governed by immortal Mind, is always beautiful and grand. Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" p. 246).

I occasionally play golf with a man who is 92. He plays a round of golf four days every week, and up to this year, he walked all four rounds on a hilly course. He also bought a video camera last year to see if he could improve his golf swing. He does everything with joy and enthusiasm. What a delight to be in his presence.

We don't need to accept limitation or degeneration in any form, but can find inspiration by the actions of people like my friend and Tom Watson.

When I was playing on the European circuit, I tried to qualify in a few British Opens. I now think I might like to try again!

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