The Blessings of the Elderly
Kelly is an absolute delight. A couple of years ago (when she was only 96 years old!!) she lamented that the days at her retirement home were often boring. I recounted with her some of the more interesting things she had been through in her life. After all, how many of us remember World War I and The Great Depression? I suggested that she take the time to write her memoirs – things she had seen and had been involved with during her life. Things that she wanted others to remember. Events that could be told only through her eyes and from her vantage point.
Well, guess what? To my astonishment, at her next visit Kelly presented me with a finished product! With the help of a friend, Kelly had her handwritten anecdotes and memories of events spiral-bound. One of the local print shops completed the job. How pleased I was to receive a special acknowledgement in the book!
The elderly certainly deserve our respect and care. In Leviticus 19:32, we read, “You shall rise before the aged and show deference for the old.” But it is not just a one-way street. Just because someone is old doesn’t mean they have less to give. Among potential gifts from the elderly:
· An entertaining and instructive message, similar to the one Kelly has written. Not to be too blunt about it, but how will these stories be remembered after she is no longer here to tell us?
· The love of a parent and grandparent. Bonds such as these are unique. As a grandparent, there is an opportunity to have an impact on a young life that no one else has.
· Setting an example of grace and handling the adversity of illness and aging. Who else can leave such a powerful and enduring memory?
Far from being of little use to society and to our loved ones, the elderly have unique opportunities to have an impact on others than perhaps they ever have before.
If you have a comment or question about this blog entry, email Dr. Roffman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Joel Roffman has spoken to many church, synagogue and support groups. His book, Coping with Adversity: Judaism’s response to illness and other life struggles is enjoyable, uplifting and informative. It is meant for people of all faiths and can be viewed at http://www.copingwithadversity.com/. It is available at Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Amazon.com.