Prayer for the City

Elderly

This devotional is written by Hen Blyth

Leviticus 19:32

Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.

Reflection

I went to the memorial for a mother of an old friend a while back. It was a celebration of a full life - a very challenging life as it turned out. But what a fascinating story! Born in the 1920s she had travelled extensively, brought up three children on her own and developed a rich and highly creative life.

She was 89 when she died and around the room the family had put photographs of her throughout her life, as child, sister, wife, mother, adventurer - stylish, cultured and smiling.
On the way back to the station an elderly man got onto the bus and sat down in front of me. He had a stick and was a bit shaky and as he sat I thought, "This will happen to all of us, God willing. We will grow old and however much we exercise or look after ourselves, if and when old age comes we will grow frail and confused and need someone to help us." I thought of how impatient I can become with my own elderly parents when they walk exceedingly slowly or tell me the same story for the umpteenth time. I felt ashamed.

God tells us to honour the older people around us and to respect them. They have been our age, we have not yet been theirs. What do we know of their present struggles or their history? We can learn so much from them if only we can slow down sufficiently to give them the time to tell us their stories and to share their wisdom with us.

Parents of small children can be endlessly patient in listening to the same story told over and over again. Are we able to extend the same love and patience towards our elders that they gave us then?

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