Rock of Aging
I was walking near the football stadium before the game of my college Alma mater when I spotted four older gentlemen all together by their car tail gait. It had been raining all morning and still was when I offered some type of small conversation. We might have talked about the rain or something but the conversation got more involved. I found out that these four gentlemen were past college players for my university. They played back in the 1950’s but as we talked their memories were like those years were yesterday. As we talked further I realized that one of the gentlemen was my old gym teacher in high school. I found out that the teams in the 1950’s that they played on didn’t have the best records. I also learned that they all played both ways back then, both offense and defense. We talked about the old days and what it was like. We talked about who the dominate team was in the conference in those years. I could tell that those four guys really appreciated looking back! You could see their faces come alive at the memories!
One of the four told me that his high school team had my ex gym teachers high school team’s number back when they played. Of course there was a comeback from the latter that it was one against eleven in those matches. You see he was a star running back that after college had a short run with the New York Giants until he got his back injured and required surgery. In fact when he told me all of the injuries he had incurred it was amazing to me that he could walk! Yet the years have treated him kindly as he was getting around just fine! He later went into teaching and coaching the football team at my high school. Now, these four gentlemen are near eighty, but they get together and attend a football game each year and remember. They remember the old times as they watch the current team play. I’m sure that watching the teams through the years brings back times when they were out on that field! I’m sure they talk about old times and what they would have done on given plays. In these times for an hour or two they may forget that many years have passed as they relive their past. Though they are older now, their minds are sharp and they have stories to tell that I absolutely enjoyed! I wonder how many people are really interested in their stories of years gone by? How many that actually sit in the seats near them realize that they were former players? I’ll bet that coaching staffs and current players could tap into a boat load of knowledge from those four gentlemen. I seriously doubt that their knowledge and experience are frequently used.
After talking to these four gentlemen, I realized more than ever that older people have a lot to say! Their vast experience in life should be looked on as a great asset! We should be seeking advice from older people who have lived what we are going through. They have vast knowledge about what road we should take as we could learn from their failures and success. As it is, our current national policy seems to be to get the older people out of the way. The commercials we see today have young people enjoying the latest automobile, or young people enjoying the nice trip. What commercials pinpoint the older audience? Usually the laxative commercials or the life insurance ones. I realize that I am right at that age. Not the age of the real old, but certainly not in the young target market anymore. In fact I’m much closer to the other end.
Recently I went to a retirement seminar that was explaining the benefits we would be eligible to receive when we retired. Only the people with a few years to work were there. I realized that I hadn’t seen some of the people in many years. I couldn’t get over how much everyone had changed. When I looked closer I recognized them. It was strange how every day I saw some of the same people. In my mind they were forever twenty five, or thirty, or even thirty five years old. Having not seen some for the last twenty years I had to look closer. Oh yes, there is so and so. I could recognize their mannerisms and even their faces but my had the years taken their toll. Of course I never think that they are thinking the same thing after seeing me. Sometimes I feel like the person that goes to their class reunion of thirty or thirty five years. I must be in the wrong room they think. This room only has old people in it!
So here I am thinking that sometimes I don’t feel as relevant as I used to in this world. It’s at these times I make myself change the channel. I’m not talking about the TV channel, it’s about the channel in my brain. It’s natural in a society that caters to the youth that as I get older I feel left out. I feel like my accomplishments are in the past. At times I feel lonely or unloved. I feel at a standstill as the world is moving swiftly along. These all can be real feelings but I’ve found that instead of feeling sorry for myself I need to fight back! I know that no matter how old I get God still loves me. In fact every day that I live is a blessing he gives! Sometimes he puts people in my life to inspire me!
Inspiration came in an unexpected way when I talked to those gentlemen at the football game! I think that it helped me see a different perspective. A vision of how things can be when the wars of life are fought together. After all, we do not live in a vacuum. There are other people our age that are going through the same things we are! The beautiful part of the story for these gentlemen is how they have moved on with their lives, but at the same time can look back at the good things and the mistakes that they made along the way. I loved the way they were still feisty as they recalled events and let me share their feelings and philosophies of years gone by. I heard in one of their voices disappointment in those years as he felt the team ran an outdated offense “the single wing.” Yet, through the disappointment I could sense a lot of pride from those four, being some of the very few who not only attend the games regularly, but also had the experience of being out on that field with the crowds cheering!
My ex-gym teacher told me to keep working for as long as I was enjoying it! I thought that was very sound advice from someone who had lived through that decision in his own life! I conclude that getting older is a good thing. Obviously we have no choice, but it should be a time of helping as our wisdom is at it’s highest level! I’ve heard that in other countries older people are revered. There is a real respect from the youth as they realize what great life lessons are stored up just waiting to be released! Not so much in our country. Sometime I feel like older people are pushed aside and the young are taking over. It feels like the old saying “out with the old, in with the new.” I totally disagree with this philosophy and I hope you do too! After all, sometimes it’s the old shoes that are the most comfortable! Sometimes it is the old school thinking that makes more logical sense! Sometimes it is the old sayings that offer wisdom! Always it is the old time gospel that is the heavenly path! This country would be a better place to live if older people meant more. If we discovered the knowledge that is being wasted because we fail to tap into it’s resource! As Ronald Reagan so eloquently stated in one of his debates “I will not make age an issue of this campaign. I am not going to exploit, for political purposes, my opponents youth and inexperience.” George Bernard Shaw stated that “It’s a pity that youth is wasted on the young.” So why the title “Rock of Aging?”, you may ask. Well Jesus is the rock and if we keep our feet planted on him, we can be here to bless others! We can share his message through the wisdom we have been granted today, and the hope we have for tomorrow!