The Golden Years

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The Golden Years

Reflections on a life

I am a senior—an oap, as the British have it, or a member of the aarp set, in American terms. But I’m still a junior senior, compared to many of my compatriots. I’ve yet to achieve my innings of three score and ten.

I’ve begun to fully realize what a great time of life the senior years bring! Finally some lessons have been learned. From the perspective of the senior years, one can appreciate Winston Churchill’s observation that success ultimately comes after making many mistakes along the way.

One of the great things about the senior years is the tempering effect they can bring to the behavioral tendencies of one’s more youthful years. I guess that’s called mellowing. Perhaps, for some, this comes from seeing the humorous side of all of our huffing and puffing and strivings after wind through much of life, when, on reflection, we see the way of life that the Founder of true Christianity laid out for us is so elegantly straightforward by comparison. If only we had known that earlier in life!

Another great thing about the senior years is being able to speak from experience. Youth speaks out of brashness, even braggadocio, often in ignorance, and certainly from an innate lack of real wisdom born of real experience. Yet this fact cannot be as readily appreciated, deeply, by youth as it can by the one of senior years. The senior possesses a long-term perspective with which to look back through the years to perceive the folly of foolish ways compared to the blessedness of righteous ways.

One of the greatest blessings that can come from entering the senior years is within a long-term marriage. This thought struck me as I farewelled my wife on her recent trip Down Under to visit our family in Australia. After 41 years of marriage, we still wanted to linger over parting. That’s the way it was on our first date. In fact, on that occasion I lingered so long that I missed the last bus home and had to hoof it along the 10 miles toward my home till picked up by a kindly truck driver. (In those days, hitchhiking was common, and relatively safe, compared to these days.) In fact, our tendency to linger together after a date meant that I got to know quite a few truck drivers who plowed that route 10 miles between my future wife’s home and my own during our year-long courtship!

On this most recent occasion, at the Oklahoma City airport, I was able to wheedle a security clearance out of the airline so as to enter the departure lounge with my wife and linger even longer till her flight boarded. Even so, she was the last one to board as we squeezed every second of togetherness out of that moment prior to our goodbye kiss.

What sheer delight it is to share this way of life, gifted to us by a merciful God, with a lifetime partner. What a precious gift it is to reflect in one’s senior years on having given life to one’s offspring, nurtured them through thick and thin, team-wrestled with them through the challenges of daily living, observed their joys in their moments of dating, betrothal, wedded bliss, and the birth of yet another generation. Comes the time in one’s life when suddenly you realize that, in what seems such a short span, you have morphed from once being the newest generation in your family, to being the oldest living generation. How time flies!

And there’s another blessing that comes from these senior years. Remember when you just could not visualize being old? Remember when you thought anyone over 40 was definitely over the hill, till suddenly you were 40—and still able to run, jump, jog and kick a ball with those half your age?

Then came crunch time.

Something sprang apart, something caved in, something broke, or perhaps the wind began to give out before the game was over. I remember when those things started to happen to me. Determined to go out a winner, bandaged though I was, I ran my last serious race at 46 years of age, and won! The fact that I was the youngest in the pack I’m sure had nothing to do with the outcome. Well, I still boast occasionally to my sons that I retired a winner.

Seriously, to be living one’s seventh decade, in good health, surrounded by family to the third generation, is a blessing unmatched. Yet it is also sobering to think on.

There cannot be a more crucially urgent era in history than the one in which we now live in terms of a need to demonstrate the overwhelming proof of that ancient reality that the traditional monogamous marriage within a stable family, with each member subscribing to time-honored roles, is the fundamental building block of any successful civilization. Within our most sophisticated societies, we have done more in the past 50 years to destroy the traditional institutions of marriage and family than in the past 5,000 years combined!

The facts are that since we pushed women out to work and war, since we began treating irresponsible brats as adults, since we sought to metamorphose the two sexes into an androgynous one, since we replaced honor for age with lust to perpetuate youth, since we perverted the true nature of marriage, Western society—in particular the British and American peoples—has led the world on a course toward the denigration of civilization, even the destruction of human society itself!

This world is in need of those who still remember the ways that built a strong and stable society to stand up and be counted for and tell it like it is!

If you are blessed to be of that generation with a lifetime’s experience behind you, a senior, truly appreciative of the ancient values that have contributed to the golden years being the happiest of your life, share the proof of that way with others. Write to us, tell us of your experiences, put in your vote for a better society, one that upholds real, lasting values, with the only vote that counts in the final analysis—your own living example!

Long live the seniors!