Here are a few things I’ve learned as a senior citizen:
Friends and acquaintances alike seem more free to offer help whenever they sense the senior needs it. That help may seem very minor to the one who gives it but is really a major item in the senior’s life.
Example: As a result of both getting older and some deterioration requiring a second shoulder surgery, I need help with my jacket. At home, I can hang it inside out on the back of a chair, back up to it and slip my arms in the sleeves. With a bit of practice that works quite well. Not convenient, but much better than going without that extra layer of warmth when needed. As we leave church services, there is always someone ready to help with that. A little thing? Yes, to the one offering the help but a major thing to me!
Those senior citizens I’ve held doors for over the years? Where are they? Oh, I know! I’ve joined them and younger people are looking out for my needs.
I first noticed this change several years ago while on a mission trip. We were working on a flat roof and in similar situations I had always assumed the lookout position for those mounting the ladder to get down safely. But that year? One of the younger missioners took that position and motioned me to go down ahead of her. Yes, that was several years ago! And since then, I’ve become more aware of how others perceive me.
Nobody is thinking less of me than in previous years. It’s a little like the changing of the guard, I guess – giving honor to those who have already earned it.
From my point of view? These thoughtful courtesies are much appreciated and it makes me feel good that in years past I had extended those same honors to others.
But, you see, I always liked to be helpful – one who could be called on to bring in food for a meal, one who would steady the ladder for someone else, one who could help when a group assembled for a community work project or those other numerous helping situations.
How do I really feel about all this? Well, I understand but I really liked it better when I was part of the work team doing those little niceties for others. My position now is to ask for help if needed and/or to accept help when it is offered.
I find myself standing back out of the way and letting younger, more agile people do the things I used to do, then thanking them for it.
I guess it’s just one more of those things that remind me “gittin’ old ain’t for sissies!”
Daily, I thank my Savior that He has gone ahead to prepare the way, hold the ladder, watch over me in dangerous situations. That in Him I see the One who has not only prepared the way and smooths out the rough places, but is preparing a place just for ME. There’s one for you too, if you have invited Jesus into your heart.