In my circle of friends are various respected adults who are very much my elders. I noticed earlier this week two separate facebook posts by two different friends which made me feel uncomfortable. As these friends are growing older, I feel like some of the things they are posting is starting to demonstrate the negative side of aging and a small amounts of senility. One of my professors currently is a professor emeritus, and she often makes comments about how she may be “off her game” as an older person, and how she doesn’t always feel a sense of belonging with others of her generation, or society as a whole for that matter. All of these instances make me very sad.
I am sad because as a whole in America, we do not keep up with our families. I am sad because people should have enough support in this world to age mostly comfortably at home. I am sad that we demand that our seniors learn to use things like Facebook, and yet we do not visit them. I am sad that so many people take their grandparents for granted. I am sad that we treat the aging like children instead of respecting their place in our world, and that so many of our elders live in poverty.
I am just one person, and my resources don’t stretch far. But not abiding with people as they grow into old age is absolutely wrong. Maybe it strikes me deep since my grandparents have all passed on, but it’s a form of disobedience and irresponsibility that isn’t right. I believe that we need to create ways that prioritize taking care of our senior citizens. There is something nearly perverted not to.
I believe you can respect senior citizen’s independence while partnering with them to provide the support they need. Too often, adults grow older only to feel forgotten by the world. We grow up families and our failures are held against us, and we live out the rest of our lives replaying mistakes and blaming ourselves for what we could have done better instead of being offered forgiveness. The last thing anyone should have to confront in their twilight years is the lack of forgiveness. There is enough grace for all people. Along with the fatherless, the “widows” and the elderly are the ones our world has forgotten.
We talk about fixing the world for our children, but what about for our parents? Do we really want to force them into a retirement home? Is that kind? Do we really want forgiveness that we could have offered to come from someone else, and only as hope? The grace of God can be spoken through us, but are we brave enough to abide and stand along side the troubles that face our families? Whether it is divorce, abuse, lies, addictions, etc., do our parents have to be perfect for us to forgive them? Could creating a more perfect world be for them too? What if they were also broken and flawed when they raised us? Could we bear to forgive them?
I don’t want my relatives to grow old with no one to guide them. Standing firm in faith means both providing for the new generations and taking care of the old. It isn’t right to let anger or neglect make us forget our responsibilities to our families. We as Christians should be ashamed to let our family members die in regret while they are still waiting out for our forgiveness. If we have recieved grace, there is something very wrong in that.