I love the poem Warning by Jenny Joseph. Take a read if you don’t know it – it’s short and funny, even if you’re not usually a poetry fan. It’s a snapshot into how the writer wants to live when she’s old.
I like it. I like the idea of doing slightly eccentric things without caring what others think of you. I like the idea of not taking oneself too seriously, making up for the “sobriety of my youth”. I also like the idea of abandoning the status quo, what’s expected of you, after a lifetime of having to behave (“But now we must have clothes that keep us dry…”).
But. When I am an old woman, I want to:
* realise that others will think things of me, and therefore make sure that my words and actions are wise
* make up for the cowardice of my youth by saying things of worth which really matter
* abandon the status quo that suggests seniority excuses negative attitudes or statements
I may not get very far! But do you see my point? For Christians, there’s no stage in life where it’s acceptable to settle for the world’s comforts over Jesus’ promises. Not even in old age.
Recently we spent a lovely evening with an older couple from our church. They are full of positive things to say about everyone. They are kind, generous and thoughtful. They are wise, and have a wealth of experience from lives spent wholeheartedly serving God. They have a great sense of humour, know what’s worth taking seriously and what isn’t, and are fun to be around. They pray. Without exception, every younger person I know who knows this couple wants to be like them when they’re older.
Warning: the closer I get to reaching my heavenly home, the more outspoken about God I might become…