Posts belonging to Category Seniors

Living Well and Aging with Beauty

The following is excerpted from a beautifully written article by James Russell Miller on living in such a way that “our old age, when it comes, shall be beautiful and happy.” Miller was a Presbyterian pastor who lived from 1840-1912 and who pastored churches in Pennsylvania and Illinois.

How can we so live that our old age, when it comes, shall be beautiful and happy? It will not do to adjourn this question until the evening shadows are upon us. It will be too late then to consider it. Consciously or unconsciously, we are every day helping to settle the question whether our old age shall be sweet and peaceful or bitter and wretched. It is worth our while, then, to think a little how to make sure of a happy old age.

  1. We must live a useful life. The fruit of an idle life is never joy and peace. Years lived selfishly never become garden-spots in the field of memory. Happiness comes out of self-denial for the good of others. Sweet always are the memories of good deeds done and sacrifices made. Their incense, like heavenly perfume, comes floating up from the fields of toil and fills old age with holy fragrance. When one has lived to bless others, one has many grateful, loving friends whose affection proves a wondrous source of joy when the days of feebleness come. Bread cast upon the waters is found again after many days.
  2. We must seek to make to ourselves loyal and faithful friends in the busy hours that come before. This we can do by a ministry of kindness and self-forgetfulness. This was part at least of what our Lord meant in that counsel which falls so strangely on our ears until we understand it: “Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when you fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.”
  3. Again, we must live a pure and holy life. Sin may seem pleasant to us now, but we must not forget how it will appear when we get past it and turn to look back upon it; especially must we keep in mind how it will seem from a dying pillow. Nothing brings such pure peace and quiet joy at the close as a well-lived past. We are every day laying up the food on which we must feed in the closing years. We are hanging up pictures about the walls of our hearts that we shall have to look at when we sit in the shadows. How important that we live pure and holy lives! Even forgiven sins will mar the peace of old age, for the ugly scars will remain.

Summing all up in one word, only Christ can make any life, young or old, truly beautiful or truly happy. Only He can cure the heart’s restless fever and give quietness and calmness. Only He can purify that sinful fountain within us, our corrupt nature, and make us holy. To have a peaceful and blessed ending to life, we must live it with Christ . . . For such a life death has no terrors. The tokens of its approach are but “the land-birds lighting on the shrouds, telling the weary mariner that he is nearing the haven.” The end is but the touching of the weather-beaten keel on the shore of glory.

You can read the full article at (By the way, if you don’t read Tim Challies, you really ought to!)

The Senility Prayer

I am sure many of you are familiar with The Serenity Prayer, written by Reinhold Niebuhr:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Now Ben Witherington presents The Senility Prayer “for folks over 50 who are cranky”:

Grant me the senility
to forget the people I never liked anyway;
the good fortune to run into the ones I do;
and the eyesight to tell the difference.

Witherington also has a great story about prayer in the same article. “A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island . . . .”

New Temptation for Senior Adults

I found this Lifeway article interesting on the new temptation for senior adults to live together outside of marriage.

In 2007, the “Boomer Generation” officially retires. This is the year that people who were born in the 1950’s are eligible to retire from work. The truth of the matter is that the population of America is growing older and this is changing the landscape of our communities and our churches.

One disturbing trend is the number of “senior adults” who are living together and in turn, being sexually active. Recent reports tell us that “the majority of HIV carriers will be over the age of 50 by 2015, and that even now about 15 percent of new infections occurs in this age group.” (Sex Ed for Seniors; US News and World Report; August 13/August 20, 2007)

Many pastors have also reported that the most disturbing trend in their aging church is the number of couples who are living together. In today’s society we might expect that this number is increasing, but what is interesting is that the majority of these couples are over the age of 55. Many senior couples are living together for financial reasons. Although they want the benefit of companionship, whether made single by death or divorce, many decide that they simply do not want to get remarried.

As a pastor I can testify that this is increasingly becoming a problem. Whereas “living together” used to be a temptation more directed at the young and single, it is becoming just as big a temptation for the older and single.

The Lifeway article recommends that churches take the following four steps in addressing this situation:

  1. Preach and teach God’s design for loving relationships.
  2. Develop a small accountability group for seniors.
  3. Help seniors find alternative avenues.
  4. Confront in love and support unconditionally.


They Sit Together on the Porch

I found this poem earlier today at the WorldMag Blog. Very touching.


They sit together on the porch, the dark
Almost fallen, the house behind them dark.
Their supper done with, they have washed and dried
The dishes–only two plates now, two glasses,
Two knives, two forks, two spoons–small work for two.
She sits with her hands folded in her lap,
At rest. He smokes his pipe. They do not speak,
And when they speak at last it is to say
What each one knows the other knows. They have
One mind between them, now, that finally
For all its knowing will not exactly know
Which one goes first through the dark doorway, bidding
Goodnight, and which sits on a while alone.

Click here for poems by Ray Fowler.