Sunday, May 6, 2007

Senior Adulthood

(Sabbath Blog #16)

Today is Senior Adult Day at The Hill Baptist Church. It’s a good observance for us to have.

We are grateful for the Senior Adults in our church. Indeed, some 70% of our congregation falls in that category if you define it by being past retirement age. Still, it is good to thank our Seniors for their many contributions to the Lord’s work over their many years.

What makes someone a Senior Adult? I suppose it’s all relative.

Sometimes I’ll see an obituary in my hometown newspaper for someone who attended my childhood church. The obituary will say that she was eighty-three years old. I would have sworn that she was ninety-eight back in 1965 when I was seven. When you’re young, nearly everybody looks old. On a recent television show, a young teenager was being questioned about a suspect. “How old was he?” the officer asked him. “I don’t know exactly,” he replied. “Old, like my dad.” His dad, who was standing there, was younger than I am.

The other day I introduced myself to someone as the pastor of The Hill Baptist Church. He shook my hand and said, “I’ve heard of you but I thought you’d be a lot older. You sure are young to be pastor of a church like that.” I could have hugged him. I’ll be forty-nine in September. I do remember being a “young pastor.” I was twenty-eight when I became pastor of the First Baptist Church of Adel, Georgia. A picture in my study reminds me of those years. It’s from 1991, the year that the Adel church celebrated its centennial. My family and I are dressed in old timey clothes. Sara was four and Joshua was seven. Debra was the age she was. I was thirty-two. I carried much less weight, much more hair, far fewer wrinkles, and considerably lower mileage. Those early years in the pastorate were fun; people would overlook my mistakes, which were legion, with the observation that “After all, he’s awfully young.” Despite the fact that some folks still think of me as young (again, the perception of age is a relative thing), I figure that I long ago passed the point where I can be let off the hook by the assumption that I really don’t know any better.

I do know this: a few months prior to September 2008, the month when, Lord willing, my 50th birthday will occur, the American Association of Retired Persons will send a letter inviting me to join their organization. And I will gladly join, because I am always looking for a discount. But will I really be a Senior Adult then?

They say that you’re as young as you feel.

A few nights ago my wife and I had a nice evening out and I felt thirty again.

Yesterday after working in the yard I felt eighty.

I guess it is really is all relative.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kitty Carlisle Hart, the stage legend, died on April 17, 2007, at the age of 96. Discussing her death, one radio commentator said that she had taken her teenage son to a pool party at the home of a mutual friend. Ms Hart had always prided herself on maintaining her svelte appearance. Standing at the end of a high diving board in her one piece bathing suit and swim cap, Ms Carlisle called down to the teenager at pool side, "Young man, how old do you think I am?" The teen replied, "I don’t know, about 25." Ms Carlisle executed a perfect dive into the pool, and upon emerging, said, "Young man, I'm 91." Oh to be a senior citizen like Ms Carlisle!