About 23 years ago, I heard of a study that was done of 50 people between the ages of 90-95. It had such an impact on me, that I’ve never forgotten it. The researchers asked them this: If you had life to live over again, what would you do differently? There were three main responses:
1. I would reflect more.
2. I would risk more.
3. I would invest more in what would live long after me (or in the eternal).
I don’t remember the details, but I remember this main outline. Wherever we are in life, we can take something from this to heart. When I first heard this, I was a young mother. Now, we have an empty nest, our family is scattered, and we have two young grandchildren who live far from us. I spend much of my life alone or quietly with my husband. No young children run through my house.
Few demands are made of me, except those I put upon myself or accept for myself. I don’t teach in the classroom or run an educational program as I used to do. My work projects for Troy Christian are ministries I do from home. I teach a teen girls’ Sunday School series for part of the year and host some girls overnighters in my home — exhausting highlights of the year for me! But now, I’m an older lady, though far from being an elderly lady. This is an interesting stage of life!
In contrast, most of you are young or somewhat young parents with children at home. When I think of you (I wish you would write to me), I feel a bit fussy over you, because I know you are so busy that it’s hard for you to see the trees for the forest. It is hard for you to have the time to be quiet before the Lord and savor His Word and presence. It seems that we older folks have something you need, and you have something we need.
So let me suggest that you ask the Lord to direct you to an older person or couple with whom you can bond and build a special friendship – mentorship relationship. This kind of relationship will be mutual or circular, where you nurture and learn from each other. I always admired my parents for the way they learned from younger people. Don’t think that if you are the younger person, that you are exclusively the receiver and the older is the giver. It is mutual. This is the way family is to be – interdependent (neither independent nor codependent).
We older people need you young parents and you need us. Such a special relationship could be with your own parents or relatives, or a neighbor widow or widower, or . . . who could it be?
“O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together.”