Old age is not for sissies… but having a sense of humour helps. My neighbour, Joan who is 80, spends her day praying for folks and listening to tapes on books, including the Bible, recorded by the “Tape Aids for the Blind”. She is an absolute tonic and because she is loving and humorous, many friends love to visit her and take her to concerts and music recitals. She laughs long and often from her “boots upwards”. That laugh is so infectious! She has macular degeneration and only has partial sight.
Since dollarization in 2009, many Zimbabweans have had their pensions dissolved, so that we have had to find jobs – that put paid to boredom! Many are farmers who have had to learn new trades. In my mid-sixties, I stopped teaching and went to work as an estate agent to pay the mortgage. In my group discussions on “Family Day” of second term of 2012, the following topics/ideas were put forward on how to be useful and fulfilled in our old age…
Being actively involved at church
Enjoying a sport, such as bowls or tennis
Joining in activities like gym, bridge or gardening club
Helping our children by being involved with grandchildren’s home work school runs and concerts.
Knowing the word of God and putting on the armour of God every day. It was decided that highlighting faith and love verses in Psalms were helpful for growth and warfare.
Living a “purpose driven life” (Rick Warren) – this enables one to get up every day and to keep them focused and motivated rather than being self-centred and building walls that isolate and make one lonely. Reaching out to others by visiting and learning to practise listening skills goes a long way to help this happen.
The wisdom I have learned can be best described by enjoying a cream scone. God is my foundation. He is the ‘bread of life’. The butter is like my job – it keeps me “greased” and alert. My jam is the grandchildren and activities at the Christian Counselling Family. While the cream at the top is nice, but not essential, these include God TV, funny DVDs and outings to Reps Theatre. Some of my favourite and encouraging things are seeing hurting people’s lives transformed through counselling and meeting my home-cell group members for Bible Study and fellowship on a Wednesday evening. King David in Psalms 79 encouraged himself by remembering the lion and the bear when he was faced with Goliath. We can encourage ourselves with thanksgiving, thinking on happy memories, and meditating on Bible verses.
Challenges we have to face in our autumn years are illness, death of a spouse and having wisdom no one wants to hear about! What helps is focusing on your victories in Christ and all that you have received from Him throughout your life instead of zoning in on your problems. Romans 8:5-14 advises us to “set out minds” on what the Spirit wants and not on the flesh or what “I want”.
by Brenda Smith