“They will still bear fruit in old age” (Psalm 92:14).
For reasons unknown to me, I have never looked upon myself as a senior.
I’ve smiled when host pastors would welcome everyone to our senior adult emphasis, then say something as outlandish as “If you’re 50 and above, you’re a senior.” Why, I have children who would qualify by that standard, but they’re barely out of their teens.
I’m smiling. This is serious but with a wink.
The other day, while riding the train from Concourse D to Concourse B in the Atlanta airport, I entered the crowded car and spotted an empty seat toward the rear. As I settled into it, I noticed the sign read “for handicapped and seniors.” My spirit smiled at that. “I’m a senior.”
It felt good, actually.
“I don’t know why they’ve invited me to speak at this senior rally,” I’ve been known to announce. “I suppose it’s because I love seniors so much. I hope to become one some day.”
And me with white hair and in retirement.
I am finally a senior and willing to accept it. Embrace it, actually.
When I was born, Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House. Later that year, he defeated Wendell Willkie and became the nation’s first third-term president.
I remember the Second World War.
I lived through the entire decade of the 1940s, the 1950s, the 1960s, the 1970s, and…well, you get the idea.
A lot of years.
I’m 76 as of a month ago.
It feels good. The report from my doctor is as excellent as it’s possible to get, I imagine. Monday of this week, the lab drew several vials of my blood and ran all those tests which inform us of my blood sugar, cholesterol level, platelet count, and over 30 other areas. Only two were flagged. My triglyceride level is slightly elevated and something called “alkaline phosphatase” is a smidgen higher than is recommended.
I’m giving thanks for being vertical and mobile and rational.
They say from age 65 to 75 is the youth of old age. From 75 to 85 is the maturity of old age. And from 85 on, well, you’re just old. So, I’m well into the maturity sector.
It’s about time I was mature, some will say. (Shucks, I’ll say it myself.)
My wife and I had nearly 53 years of marriage before the Lord took her. Today marks the 15 month anniversary of her homegoing. I’m grateful for those years and honored to have had Margaret Henderson McKeever as a partner.
Our eight grandchildren are growing up. The youngest of our six granddaughters, JoAnne (named for Joe and Margaret Ann), graduates from high school in Missouri this Thursday night. I plan to be there. Her big sister Leah, the oldest of our eight, turns 27 later this year.
Yep. I’m a senior.
Sometime this summer I’m to have cataract surgery. In former days we would have said that alone qualifies me as a senior, but we have all known of much younger people requiring this kind of eye correction. From all reports, the process is much simpler than a generation ago. I’m grateful.
Even though I’m grateful to the Lord for HIs blessings over this three-quarters of a century He has granted me, I don’t spend a lot of time looking back.
I don’t have time.
Today, I’m driving to Mobile, Alabama to see my son and his family. They moved from New Orleans a few weeks ago to be closer to his job. I’ll return on Saturday, tomorrow.
Then, Sunday, I’m driving 120 miles north to Brookhaven, Mississippi, to speak at a church’s annual senior emphasis. I’ll sit at a table sketching people from 3:30 to 4:59 pm, then speak at the 5 pm service, then drive home.
Monday, I drive to Alexandria, Louisiana for the quarterly meeting of the executive board of Louisiana Baptists. When we finish Tuesday afternoon, I’ll drive toward Missouri for JoAnne’s graduation (and to visit with our daughter and her family there). While in the area, I’ll do a Saturday night senior banquet for a large church in the area. The minister of seniors tells me they will have 250 attending. I’ll sketch nonstop, then get up and speak.
Sunday, we’ll all go to church in Springfield. Then, after lunch, I’ll start driving toward New Orleans.
The following weekend, I’ll be in Glasgow, Kentucky with Immanuel Baptist Church.
Shall I go on? The point I was making is that I don’t have time to look back.
I’m more than grateful for the sustenance of the Heavenly Father.
Seven years ago, when I was retiring as director of missions for the New Orleans Baptist Association, I brought my fears and anxieties to the Father. “Can I do this? I’ve never been retired. Will my retirement income be sufficient? Will I still get opportunities to preach?”
The Lord interrupted my little pity-party one day and spoke to me.
“I am your Portion.”
That’s all He said. And it was enough.
He has been all-sufficient during all these years, not just since 2009.
I am so blessed. After hearing a friend say she feels like God’s favorite child, I swiped that saying. It captures so perfectly what is going on in my life. So blessed. Blessed beyond compare.
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” “Bless the Lord, O my soul, for He has dealt bountifully with you.” “I will call upon the Lord who is greatly to be praised. The Lord liveth. And blessed be the Rock.”