Twelve More Rules for a Good Old Age–Adapted

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Today’s article is a continuation of the first “Ten Rules for a Good Old Age” shared with you on May 14. Here we go:

  1. If your spouse is still alive, be intentional about expressing your love. Say “I love you!” as often as possible. Enjoy your time together now. Don’t wait till later. She/he is one of God’s most important gifts to you. Thank Him daily and openly express your love. If your spouse is no longer with you, remember with a thankful heart the years and times you shared.
  2. Avoid using the phrase “In my time.” Your time is now. As long as you’re alive, you are part of this time. You have been younger, but you are still you now, having fun and enjoying life.
  3. Stay positive about today. Some people embrace their golden years, while others become bitter and surly. Life is too short to waste your days in the latter mode. Spend your time with positive, cheerful people, it’ll rub off on you and your days will seem that much better. Spending your time with bitter people will make you older and harder to be around.
  4. If possible, avoid living with your children or grandchildren. It’s fine to live close to family but we all need our privacy. They need theirs and you need yours. If you’ve lost your spouse, then find a place in the midst of others with whom you can readily identify and share similar values. Move only if you feel you really need the help or do not want to live alone.
  5. Try not to abandon your hobbies. If you don’t have any, find one. If physically and financially possible, you can travel, hike, cook, read, and dance. You can adopt a cat or a dog, grow a garden, play cards, checkers, chess, dominoes, golf. You can paint, volunteer at church or your favorite charity. Find something you like to do and spend time having fun with it.
  6. Even if you don’t always feel like it, try to accept invitations. Baptisms, confirmations, graduations, birthdays, weddings, conferences, funerals. Try to go. Meet people you haven’t seen in a while, go to museums, walk through a field. The important thing is to leave the house from time to time. Get out there. If humanly possible.
  7. Talk less and listen more. Some people go on and on about the past, not caring if their listeners are really interested. That’s a great way of truncating conversations. Listen first and answer questions, but don’t go off into long stories unless asked to. Speak in courteous tones and try not to complain or criticize too much. Always find some good things to say as well.
  8. Pain and discomfort go hand in hand with getting older. Try not to dwell on them but accept them as a part of the cycle of life everyone goes through. Try to minimize them in your mind. They are not who you are, they are something that life added to you. If they become your entire focus, you lose sight of the person you used to be and still are.
  9. If you’ve been offended by others, forgive them. If you’ve offended someone, apologize. Don’t drag resentment around with you. It will make you sad and bitter. It doesn’t matter who was right. Someone once said, “Holding a grudge is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Don’t take that poison. Forgive and move on with your life.
  10. If you have a strong belief, savor it. But be wise when trying to convince others. People will make their own choices no matter what you tell them. Guided by the Spirit, live your faith and set an example. Actions speak louder than words.
  11. Laugh. Laugh a lot. Remember, you are one of the fortunate ones. If you’re over 70, you’ve been blessed with life, a long one. Many never get to be your age and never experience a life of fulfillment. But you have. Try to find the humor in your daily circumstance. Laugh at yourself.
  12. Take no notice of negative comments people say about you and even less of what they might be thinking. Let them talk and don’t worry. They likely have no idea about your history, your memories and the life you’ve lived so far. There’s still much to be written, so get busy writing and don’t waste time thinking about what others might think.

With all these tidbits of advice in mind, don’t forget to remember God’s promise: “Those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.” Is. 40:31

Angel Flight

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Credit: defense.gov

Last Thursday my Perspectives article was simply a powerful photo of a young boy receiving a ceremonially folded American flag at his father’s funeral. I added the words of Jesus from John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”

Today I’m adding a moving testimonial song titled “Angel Flight” by Radney Foster. It can be heard and seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIsnD87uOeo or https://youtu.be/70Ikj1hZDnw. Here are the lyrics:

All I ever wanted to do was fly
Leave this world and live in the sky
I left the C130 out of Fort Worth town
I go up some days I don’t wanna come down

Well I fly that plane called the Angel Flight
Come on brother you’re with me tonight
Between heaven and earth you’re never alone
On the Angel Flight
Come on brother I’m taking you home

I love my family and I love this land
But tonight this flight’s for another man
We do what we do ‘cause we heard the call
Some gave a little, but he gave it all

I fly that plane called the Angel Flight
Come on brother you’re with me tonight
Between heaven and earth you’re never alone
On the Angel Flight

Come on brother I’m taking you home
Come on brother I’m taking you home

Well, the cockpit’s quiet and the stars are bright
Feels kinda like church in here tonight
It don’t matter where we touch down
On the Angel Flight it’s sacred ground

Well I fly that plane called the Angel Flight
Got a hero riding with us tonight
Between heaven and earth you’re never alone
On the Angel Flight
Come on brother I’m taking you home

Ten Rules for a Good Old Age–Adapted

  1. Stop worrying about the financial situation of your children and grandchildren. You’ve taken care of them for many years, and you’ve taught them what you could. In case of an emergency, you’ll be there to help. But you gave them an education, food, shelter, and support. The responsibility is now theirs to earn their way.
  1. Maintain a healthy life with moderate exercise like walking every day. Eat well and get sufficient sleep. It’s easy to become sick, and it gets harder to remain healthy. Stay in touch with your doctor. Get annual exams even when you’re feeling well.
  1. Always buy the best, most beautiful items for your wife or husband that you can afford. Enjoy your time and money with your spouse. Some day one of you will miss the other, and the money will not provide any comfort then. Enjoy it while you can.
  1. Don’t stress over the little things. You’ve already overcome so much in your life. You have good memories and bad ones, but the important thing is the present. Don’t let the past drag you down. And don’t let the future frighten you.
  1. Regardless of your age, keep love alive. Love your spouse. Love life. Love your family. Love your neighbor. Love your surroundings. Love your country. Giving affection helps us stay young at heart.
  1. Be humbly proud, both inside and out. Don’t stop going to your hair salon or barber, unless you cut your own hair. Manicure your nails. Go to the dermatologist and the dentist. When you are well-maintained on the outside, it helps you feel confident and strong on the inside.
  1. Don’t lose sight of fashion trends for your age, but keep your own sense of style. There’s nothing sillier than an older person trying to wear what is currently fashionable among much younger people. You’ve developed your own sense of what looks good on you. Stick with it.
  1. Keep informed about what’s going on around you. Read a newspaper. Watch the news. Go online and read what people are saying. Make sure you have an active email account and try to use some of those social networks. You’ll be surprised which old friends you’ll meet. Keeping in touch with what’s going on and with the people you know is important at any age.
  1. Respect younger people and their opinions. They may not have the same viewpoints as yours, but they are the future and will take the world in their direction. Give advice, not criticism, and try to remind them of yesterday’s wisdom that still applies today.
  1. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (Prov. 3:5-6)

 

It’s Mother’s Day. Not Mothers Day.

This Sunday I’ll thank God for my mother, who’s been in heaven one year and four months, and for my wife, the mother of our children. For years I’ve said that Mother’s Day should focus on each living person thanking God for his or her mother and not on honoring all people who happen to be mothers. Here’s some historic support for that idea. From Wikipedia:

The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Her campaign to make Mother’s Day a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died.

Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world.” 

In 1908, the U.S. Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother’s Day an official holiday, joking that they would also have to proclaim a “Mother-in-law’s Day”. However, in 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers. 

Although Jarvis was successful in founding Mother’s Day, she resented the commercialization of the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother’s Day, and that the emphasis of the holiday should be on sentiment, not profit. As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother’s Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved.

She also specifically said that “Mother’s” should “be a singular possessive, for each family to honor its own mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.” This is also the spelling used by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in his 1914 presidential proclamation, by the U.S. Congress in relevant bills, and by various U.S. presidents in their proclamations concerning Mother’s Day.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with honoring on Mother’s Day all who are blessed to be a mother. Yet doing so as the primary or sole focus of Mother’s Day observances can be insensitive to and painful for women whose blessings do not include motherhood. It’s Mother’s Day. Not Mothers Day.

The bottom line? This Sunday, and every day, take time to thank God for your mother!

The History of Pandemics

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You’ve likely seen comparisons of COVID-19 to other diseases prevalent over our country or world. Today I’m sharing a comprehensive, chronological listing that caught my attention. In descending order of approximate death toll, here’s the list, more poignantly visualized at https://www.visualcapitalist.com/history-of-pandemics-deadliest/. All dates are A.D.

Dates……………………………Name of Plague…………………………..Approximate Death Toll

1347-1351…………………….Black Death (Bubonic Plague)…………………200 million
1520…………………………….Smallpox…………………………………….…………..56 million
1918-1919…………………….Spanish Flu………………………………….………….50 million
541-542………………………..Plague of Justinian………………………..……..30-50 million
1981-present………………..HIV/AIDS……………………………………………..25-35 million
1855…………………………….The Third Plague………………………………………12 million
165-180..………………………Antonine Plague………………………………………..5 million
1600s……………………………17th Century Great Plagues…………….………….3 million
1957-1958…………………….Asian Flu……………………………………..……………1 million
1889-1890…………………….Russian Flu………………………………………………..1 million
1968-1970…………………….Hong Kong Flu…………………………………………..1 million
1817-1923…………………….Cholera 6 Outbreak……………………….…………..1 million
735-737………………………..Japanese Smallpox Epidemic………….………….1 million
1700s…………………………..18th Century Great Plagues…………….……600 thousand
2019-present………………..COVID-19…………………………………..……….256 thousand
2009-2010…………………….Swine Flu……………………………….………….200 thousand
Late 1800s……………………Yellow Fever…………………………..……100-150 thousand
2014-2016…………………….Ebola…………………………………………………..11 thousand
2012-present………………..MERS………………………………………………………………..850
2002-2003…………………….SARS…………………………………………………………………770

This list, totaling more than 400 million deaths, is shared not for the purpose of minimizing the severity and danger of COVID-19 but only as a reminder that what we’ve been experiencing the past two months is surely nothing new. Pandemics dare not be taken lightly.

Add to this list nearly 500 million people killed in 160 wars around the world, from the time of Cyrus the Great in 549-530 BC through the Yemeni Civil War today. That number includes only the military conflicts resulting in more than 25,000 causalities each.

All told, nearly one billion people have lost their life from war or pandemic. A stark and sobering reminder of the fragility and brevity of life. It’s a gift of God, not to be taken for granted. So continue to be safe. Be vigilant. Wash your hands. Keep praying. God bless you!