Like looking through a kaleidoscope, the leaves are changing color daily. Summer’s bright yellows, greens, and pinks give way to the oranges, russets and mauves of Autumn. Nature ages gracefully during this season. The fragrance of trampled pine needles and freshly fallen leaves delightfully perfumes the air, exhilarating both the senses and the soul.
As people age, however, modern culture encourages us to masque our years. Ads urge us to cover the gray, reduce the wrinkles, and eliminate unsightly age spots.
The Bible views seniors in a different light, even referring to gray hair as a glorious crown! (Proverbs ) Respect and honor for elders is admonished throughout Scripture, recognizing that, as we mature, wisdom overcomes impulsiveness, and helps us avoid pitfalls.
Over time we learn that God's Word is true. Verses like "Be quick to listen and slow to speak,"(James 1:19-20) and "A gentle answer quiets anger," (Proverbs 15:1) are proven effective over and over. Along the way, we realize that integrity really does matter more than wealth. (Proverbs 28:6) Life’s lessons combine to make us better individuals, allowing us the privilege of offering immeasurable comfort and encouragement to others.
God has provided me with wonderful examples of perseverance, tolerance, and love, embodied in individuals who have blossomed with each passing year. During my mid-twenties, Rev. Harry Sagar pastored the church where I worked part-time as a secretary. Harry radiated tranquility. As a young harried mother I often felt that on the train of life I was constantly trying to catch up with the caboose. After patiently listening to my tales of frustration, Harry would quietly say, “It’ll all work out, Pam. It’ll all work out.” Though at the time I found his answer confounding and, in all honesty, somewhat exasperating, time proved him right—things always did work out!
During our daughter’s difficult teen years, an elderly woman in our church often called to ask how things were going. Without one judgmental word, she listened as I vented my worries, frustrations, and fears. Encouraging throughout, Isabelle’s conversations always ended with, “I pray for all of you every day.” Her prayers gave me strength to remain steadfast when at times I wanted nothing more than to just run away.
Once our nest was empty, I managed a little gift shop in a nursing home. Daily, residents would stop in and admire the colorful window dressings and express their thanks for providing such a convenient place to purchase items for loved ones. Their heartfelt expressions of gratitude assured me that the long hours I spent there were well worth it.
How I hope that with each passing year I will develop grace and beauty like that of the golden days of Autumn. I pray I will follow the example of the willing listeners, gentle guides, and faithful believers who have encouraged me. And may I have lived a life worthy of the respect and honor due that glorious, gray crown.
Have a blessed day!
©2011 Pamela D. Williams