As some of you know, my preaching this past year has been exploring the spiritual challenges of our life stages - from childhood to youth, adulthood, mid life, and old age. Up until now I have been able to draw from experience, but I am not yet old.
That people disagree on when old age begins reveals our discomfort with the idea. Getting old is no prize. But what other choice is there? And does it have to be bad? The more I think about it, we need a powerful active role for the old in society. Pasturing them not only disempowers them but impoverishes the rest of society.
No wonder we are so youth obsessed. If old age is all about weakness, decline and uselessness who wants to get there a moment too soon. But if getting old meant something worth getting to, which I think it can and should, then it would make the rest of life also more worth having.
Back in my thirties, I remember George Carlin (of blessed memory and an example of what an old person can do for the rest of us) had one of his classic insights about this very topic.
"We should start talking about how great it is to be old, so when we got there it would be cool."
I suppose I am starting a little late, but better late than never. And, I have a great role model! Click below and rock on.