"We'll, we must be getting home, said Kanga. Good-bye, Pooh. And in three large jumps she was gone.
Pooh looked after her as she went.
I wish I could jump like that, he thought. Some can and some cant. Thats how it is.
Winnie the Pooh
I see young folks doing extraordinary things. They can; I cant. Thats how it is. Its easy to feel useless when youre old.
It comforts me to know that our Lord understands these moods; He was of this world. I dont know how one who lived only 32 years can feel the dismay and disgrace of the elderly, but I take it as gospel that He does. He lived all possible lives in the life that he lived and thus He knows it all: how moons and hearts and seasons rise and fall.
And then I gave myself another idea: We old folks may not be able to jump like others, but we can love and we can pray. According to the ancient Church, these are the mighty works of the aged.
Love is the very best gift we can give to God and to others. Its no small matter, for it is the means by which we fulfill our whole duty to God and our neighbor. Our love for one person may seem to be a very small action, but it is, in fact, The Greatest Thing In The World (Henry Drummonds phrase. Cf., 1 Corinthians 13: 13).
And we can pray. John sees our prayers ascending to God and an angel hurling them back to the Earth: And there were noises, thunder, lightning, and an earthquake (Revelation 8: 4, 5). We raise our reedy, timeworn voices in prayer and God shakes everything that can be shaken a rejoinder that poet George Herbert termed reversed thunder.
Our prayers may seem jumbled and incoherent, but there is no greater force in the world!
Love and prayer the mighty works of the aged, indeed, the mightiest works of all! It seems then, we old folks may not be useless after all!
David & Carolyn Roper co-direct the work of Idaho Mountain Ministries, a ministry of clergy care. David is the author of 14 books. The most recent: Teach Us To Number Our Days. His musings are archived on davidroper.blogspot.com.
The Idaho Statesmans weekly faith column features a rotation of writers from many different faiths and perspectives.