August, 2023 – August, My Birthday Month

August, 2023 – August, My Birthday Month

Once again, just like that, it’s August.  WHERE did a whole year go – and so terribly quickly?!  I have much to be thankful for in the past year.  God has been so good (yup! – all the time – all the time, so good – to me!).  But that is not what I want to write this brief article on.  I want to say what I have observed as I have gotten older on this my  😊th birthday.  And, I’m kind of not appreciating the way people’s mentalities change towards individuals as they age.  Okay, it doesn’t bother me that much.  I mostly think it’s interesting – amusing.

For example, when a person in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s forget something, an understanding, lighthearted excuse is given such as, “They need to slow down.  They are way too busy”.  If one is over 60 and forgets something it can be heard, “Oh, the poor dear is losing it”.

If one in the first four decades I mentioned forgets a doctor’s appointment, it is pleasantly dismissed with a “No problem”.  Over 60?  “Do you think we should contact his/her relatives?”   Forgotten by a younger generation to gas up the car, ending up on the side of the road waiting for AAA, “Ooooo, he/she is so absent-minded.  Always was!”  For the older person, “I think it’s time his/her (grown-up) kids take away the driver’s license!”  The same might be said of them if they can’t remember where they parked their car.  However when I was with a younger person recently who couldn’t remember where their car was, it was excusable . . .

I know many people who forget things from time to time – and that’s okay.  Yes, they are too busy, or absentminded, but once one hits a certain decade, they are deemed headed for Alzheimer’s or at least dementia.  I do find it amusing, but also annoying.  What if we told a 30 or 40 year-old something who forgot it was their birthday that they needed to be looking for a nursing home?   Many other societies’ culture is to not only respect their elders, but also to revere them.  I have heard it said more than once that a Romanian doesn’t feel like they have eaten unless they have had bread.  I attended a gathering once in Romania where the fare was pizza – lots of it.  And, there was bread made available.  All of a sudden I heard a bunica (grandmother) telling her grandson to have some bread.  He held up his piece of pizza and told his bunica that the pizza was bread.  They argued quietly a few times back and forth, and finally the young man took a piece of bread and ate it – to please and respect his grandmother.  This mentality seems to have passed other cultures, including my own for the most part.

God’s Word has quite a bit to say concerning how we should treat those who are aging.  Leviticus 19.32 says to “Stand up in the presence of the elderly and show respect for the aged.”  In 1 Peter 5.5, we read “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders.”  I Timothy 5:1,2 – “Never speak harshly to an older man, but appeal to him respectfully as you would to your own father . . .  Treat older women as you would your mother,”   I Kings 12.6 – “Then King Rehoboam consulted the elders”  Job 12.12 – “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.”  And finally, in I Peter 5.5 – “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders.”

It is difficult for most of us to face the reality of the following quote from – “We know the brain starts breaking down during middle-age, but what about our bodies? While scientists have found mental decline occurs in our 40s, our organs start declining much earlier. Most bodily functions peak shortly before age 30 and then start going downhill.”  Yikes!  There are many cultures that have the deepest, even undue respect for aging family (and oh, how we do age!).  But somehow, for the most part, my own culture has seemed to forget this.

Woodrow Kroll said, “Treat the elderly as a nonrenewable resource; they care!”  I say, ‘Happy Birthday to me!’  I am so thankful for the years God wrote into my life’s plan – and even more grateful that He ordained they would be lived for Him.  I love best what Paul had to say in II Corinthians 4.26 – “Though our outward man is decaying, yet our inward man is renewed day by day.”  Thank You, God!