Thursday, June 17, 2010

Growing old in these days

I attended a graduation party recently and found myself seated next to a 52 years old social worker. She is widow; her husband died young and she never remarried. She says she is a believer in Jesus Christ and does not attend any church or Bible study and the like. She was positive, engaging, and animated. She was a very interesting woman.

Her work is primarily with older people. She loves the older people but she doesn’t like their kids; the older people’s kids are baby boomers. I asked her why and she said older people today help one another but she fears that the baby boomers will carry their “me only,” “I only worry about myself”and “to hell with the rest of you” attitude into old age.

The most generous old people are the poorest ones; they are very generous with the little that they have, she told me. Richer people are not as generous and look down on those “below” them. “They never ask for help from those who they consider to be of lower economic status,” she observed.

She told me to tell my “baby boomer” friends that the joy ride is over. As we age we will see costs rise and services being cut. She is at the end of the baby boomer age herself and says looking forward is not a pretty picture.

I asked if the church could help. She laughed. “The last place I’d ask for help would be the church;” a stinging rebuke. Most churches have an inward focus (if it has any focus) and the churches today seem to have no or little outward focus, she commented.

When I asked her what I had to look forward to in the nursing home she said, “Be prepared to be alone, in our generation other patients will probably not help.” She has noticed the nurses, men and women lack compassion. “Tell me something positive,” I said. She told me the young nurses coming in seem to be different from the 30-50 year old nurses. The new younger nurses are more kind and compassionate than the previous generation. Good news for a growing old man.

As I reflected on all she said, I said to myself, what a sad example my generation has become. It angers me when she slams Christ’s church. Sadly much of what she said is true. I guess we will sit in our own drivel and waste away. No one else will care and neither will we.

How do we as Christians respond? Jesus says, “I will be with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20). Remember God’s promise in these days—The Lord is with us.

1 comment:

Clare said...

Interesting. This dear lady needs a friend. And needs the blessing of being a friend. She may have been engaging and animated but certainly not positive! Regarding the most generous? Rubbish. And who among us divulges all our gifts? Most of us have not the time nor inclination to "look down" on others. Her joy ride is over? My ride begins anew each day and I'm thankful for it. We can lose a lot before we even begin to approach the lifestyles and conditions of the majority of the world. Why just yesterday I drove any where I wanted to in Willmar, ate anyplace I wanted, - well, you get the picture. And what's this about "focus?" Maybe she has not had her church reach out to her as she didn't make her needs known and the congregation is comprised of individuals with lives and problems of their own but any number of them would step up to the plate if a need was known. Few church people are psychic. She really is setting herself up to be lonely. You tell me what she said is true. I see a bitter, lonely, negative individual who want the world to come to her. Won't do any good to be angry if she slammed the church. Live your life joyously, see the gifts all around and make the world a better place for every person you come in contact with. The pity party should be cancelled for lack of interest.