Happy Pentecost, be filled with the Spirit!
I have been seven decades old for almost a year, 50 years ago, I did not believe anyone could be that old, but it happens! As many of you know I expected to be retiring this month, but the Bishop has asked me to stay on for another year or two. Not that I would retire from ministry, I just want to put aside the administrative “stuff” so I can do priestly ministry more regularly.
There is an observation that people are not as old as they used to be at age 65, let alone 70. My dad was 67 when he died and I was only 29 at the time. He was quite active and vital up to his death, I really thought of him as being “old.” Not so today! Now that I am 70+, I do not see myself as old. I will admit when on returned to my school in Alabama a couple weeks ago, tears came to my eyes remembering I graduated from college 49 years ago. Sure, some of the parts are showing wear and I find myself moving a tad more slowly than I used to, but I am pleased to say I think I have many years ahead of me.
The number of people in our Parish who do not act their age fascinates me; the term “old” does not apply because they are young at heart. These folks are a really force in my life and the life of the parish! A mighty force for good! So many people are using their gifts and talents to serve others and move us forward as a faith community. It is a blessing, inspiring and affirming to be travelling in such great company.
We are not alone, advanced age does not mean a lack of effectiveness; consider the great accomplishments made by people over the age of 60. Here is a short list.
- Katherine Graham...first woman publisher of the Washington Post and Pulitzer Prize winner - Age 80. (The centerpiece of the movie “The Post”)
- John Glenn... first man to orbit the earth in the early 60's. At 77 years and 103 days, he blasted towards the heavens after challenging physical practical exercises.
- Jimmy Carter…inspiring work with Habit for Humanity - Age 94!
- Deceased Billy Graham preached to greater multitudes than anyone else alive – Age 80+.
- Pablo Casals (world famous cellist)... when asked by a young reporter "Why do you still practice 6 hours a day?” He said, "Because I'm making progress". Age - 95+.
- Ronald Reagan...elected President at age 70. He completed 2 terms as President. Credited with ending the cold war and renewing confidence in enduring American values, he died at 93.
- Mother Teresa…at the age of 69 received the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the poor of Calcutta.
- Then of course, there is our Pope Francis! He continues to inspire our church and the whole world Age - 82!
So if you’re feeling like being “old” is a step away from the grave, shrug off that evil thought, shake off the dust and get “out there” and be person that God has created you to be. The world needs your wisdom and experience!
Let us continue to pray for peace in our world!
In peace and courage,