Two Things for Seniors

Mom & Wayne, May 2009

Yesterday my wife gave me a treasure. In her stationary Cindie had some old scratch paper sheets my mom created from some old cartoons she liked. When I saw them, I heard mom laugh. This also, for some reason, caused me to remember another trait of mom that was full of wisdom. She listened to advice. More than that, she asked for it. Here is one of the cartoons my mom had on her scratch sheets. Her name was Shirley, and she related to the Shirley in the cartoon.

Shirley May Winquist was delighted to see this Shirley cartoon.

Laughter From Overflowing Joy

Mom never got too old to laugh. Even when life was hard, her heart was failing, and she couldn’t do the things she would like to do because her body just wouldn’t do what her mind would have delighted to do, she could laugh. I enjoyed hearing mom laugh. She had a smile that could light up a room and welcomed you to spend time with her. She was listening for the humor and for understanding. Her laughter was often full of the joy that God had put into her heart.

This isn’t really surprising. Mom loved Jesus. The joy of the Lord was her strength. She knew that God had nothing but good for her every day she had breath. And as a follower of Jesus, she had the fruit of the Holy Spirit in her life. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (ESV)

As I review this list of fruit, I don’t see one missing from my mother’s life and character. Her words, attitudes, actions, and her heart were all aligned with the work of the Spirit in her life. As we get older, and as the aches, pains and limitations of age eat away at our vitality, we need not lose any of these fruits. Let me encourage you, never lose your joy. Laughter is one way you can display your joy. Don’t be a grumpy old man. Don’t be a grumpy old woman. This, of course, also applies to younger people. The second thing mom did was…

Accept Advice

Mom was never too old to seek and accept advice. Yesterday I was cleaning out an old briefcase and came upon a letter mom had written to each of us, her children. As you can see from the portion of this long letter, she was seeking advice. Her concerns were regarding her will and how this document intertwined with some difficult family needs. I recall many times when mom asked me for my opinion and advice regarding financial matters. She knew one thing with certainty: she didn’t know everything. I was also reminded of this when I was reading in Proverbs this morning.

A portion of Mom’s letter.

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” Proverbs 19:20-21 (ESV) Mom would tell a senior like me, “listen to advice and accept instruction.” Mom would say the same thing to a senior pastor, a  senior programmer analyst, a senior in high school, or a senior in college. Whatever and wherever you may be in your senior-hood, mom would say, “listen to advice.” Then she would say, “take joy in the reality that the purpose of the Lord will stand.” These really are interconnected in ways we don’t always realize.

Mom had joy and laughter because the Lord was good, and His purposes will stand. Don’t surrender your joy under any circumstances. If life is puzzling, ask for advice. Seek counsel.