What does age have to do with it?
A Christian Science perspective: Is age ever a valid basis on which to judge a person?
Whether the issue is the ability of a presidential candidate to fulfill the demands of a very difficult office, or our own ability to do whatever we need to do today, is age ever a valid basis on which to judge a person’s capacity for health, energy, wisdom, or any other useful quality?
The answer, I’ve found, is no.
Like everyone else, I’ve faced barriers throughout my life because of age, and I’ve never found it helpful to accede to them. In a somewhat amusing example, when I was about ten years old, I began collecting autographs of professional baseball players. One player I wanted desperately to reach was the famous player Ty Cobb. Not knowing that a kid like me was supposed to know his place and not reach out to the great Cobb, I wrote him a letter, asking for his signature. As it turned out, he wrote back, covering the sheet of paper I’d sent him with several of his autographs and urging me to “keep them, don’t trade them.” All my friends, not to mention the adults around me, were shocked at what I had accomplished.
Experience has shown me that setting aside age-based limitations has opened the door of opportunity. For example, I decline to accept that man reaches a point when he is no longer useful and must retire. I have been convinced that God’s goodness is always active and that, as His creation, I have the right to claim that goodness for myself.
That conviction, based on what I’ve learned from the Bible and the teachings of Christian Science, is that the ageless God, divine Love – and not a physical body that seems always too old or too young for something – is the source of who we are and of all that we need. Perfect health, energy, wisdom, and so much more are our rights as the spiritual reflection of God, the eternal and infinite good (see Genesis 1:26, 31).
It isn’t enough, of course, just to believe this. I’ve had to prove it through earnest prayer rooted in the fact that God is Spirit and the only true Father and Mother of man. “Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God,” the Psalmist said. And he added encouragingly, “They shall still bring forth fruit in old age” (Psalms 92:13, 14). Firmly planted in this understanding of the true source of being, I find myself more productive now than at any other time in my life.
The Bible clearly shows that understanding something of our spiritual nature blesses us at every period of life. As a teenager, David found strength beyond his years and slew Goliath – something the mature men around him had been afraid even to try. As Christ Jesus said of little children, “of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14).
Quite simply, when it comes to expressing God in good works, age just isn’t a factor. What’s important is understanding who we are spiritually – who God knows us to be. In our true nature as the reflection of God, we possess eternal qualities that equip us to live productively and beautifully at every point in our human experience.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of The Christian Science Monitor and discoverer of Christian Science, put the facts in plain language: “Life and its faculties are not measured by calendars. The perfect and immortal are the eternal likeness of their Maker” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 246). What a fantastic promise that is, and what a comfort it can be to overcome obstacles tied to age, or realize that age cannot insert itself as an issue in public life.