Relish every age


Texas poet Karle Wilson Baker in her poem “Growing Old” has written: “Let me grow lovely growing old; so many fine things do.”

It is, indeed, “a consummation devoutly to be wished.”

The Psalmist was on the right track with the prayer, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” If we could only do that, we would be content and happy at any and every age.

Luke Bolen was a close friend of mine. He was minister of Lakewood Christian Church in Waco when I was minister in Temple. He used to say, “I have enjoyed every year of my life. I was happy as a teenager in high school. I was happy during my college days. I was happy becoming engaged and getting married. I have been happy watching my children grow up. It has been fun facing the challenges of middle age and solving some of them. And I look forward to being sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety and who knows, maybe one hundred and ten.”

You know, I feel the same way. I think the trick is to stop wishing you were older or younger and love the age where you are.

From the pen of some unknown author comes this prayer:

“Lord, you know better than I myself that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

“Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful, but not moody, helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all. But you know, Lord, that I want a few friends in the end.

“Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get the point; seal my lips on my aches and pains; they are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.

“I dare not ask for improved memory, for a growing humility, and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

“Keep me reasonably sweet, for a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places and talents in unexpected people, and give me, Lord, the grace to tell them so. Amen.” Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church, Temple, where he was senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers.

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2012-07-05 digital edition

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