A Call to Action
The handstand I was about to attempt was going to be the most graceful I’d ever done. I could already see it clearly in my mind’s eye—arms above my head, bending forward to place hands firmly on the ground. Shoulders tight, elbows locked, first I’d lift one leg in the air then gently kick the other upward, and voila! an upside-down picture of agility and strength. Sure, it’d been a while, a half-century-plus while, since I’d done one. But some things you never forget. This handstand would undoubtedly rank a nine in the world of elite gymnasts. Not bad for someone pushing seventy.
Thankfully, the voice of reason nipped that daydream in the bud. “Are you ever lovin’ kidding me? You won’t even do push-ups. What makes you think you can hold your entire bodyweight upside down while gravity bears down on you like a cement overcoat? Yeah, right.”
It saved my neck. Literally.
My point in telling you all this is that sometimes our aging bodies can’t follow through with what our youthful minds tell us we can still do. Physical limitations accompanying age can ban us to the bleachers with dampened spirits. Or, they can be the start of a new chapter in the story God is telling through us. There is much to impart to this next generation and I’m becoming increasingly convinced that handstand or no handstand we sprightly older folk are the ones God is calling.
Posted over my kitchen sink is this scripture: Even when I am old and gray-headed O God, forsake me not [but keep me alive] until I have declared Your mighty strength to [this] generation, and Your might and power to all that are to come. [i] It serves as my reminder that there is a measure of godly wisdom in me that came through years of walking with the Lord. Hard life lessons have been learned. Those lessons transcend mere book learning without experience. [ii] Battle scars are medals of honor. They are testimonials of God’s mighty strength which sustains the faithful through suffering. [iii]
In a world fraught with increasing end-time perils, this younger generation is experiencing much fear and little hope—if facing it without God. They are wanderers with no grid for what’s really going on behind and beyond this world’s natural war zones. In a Baskin Robbins world of many paths to choose from, they pick one that feels right at the time, but it ends in death. [iv] Many needlessly perish without personal knowledge of God’s redemptive plan for them. [v]
That’s where us veterans come in. This wisdom we’ve gained, these hard lessons learned, the testimonial battle scars we bear—they’re not just for our benefit. If “our ceiling is the next generation’s floor”, then we are honor-bound to do our part in making sure there’s a firm foundation for the younger to build upon. Come on, we’ve all been through some tough stuff! We have stories to tell about God’s faithfulness in our personal trials and suffering, about His wisdom and grace that got us through them, about battles fought and victories won. The younger need to hear about the ancient paths where the good way is so they too can walk in it and find rest for their souls. [vi] They must know that God has good plans for them, plans to prosper and not harm them, plans to give them hope and a future despite present dismal circumstances if they are to survive. [vii]
I keep hearing a call to action, and it’s not coming solely from foresighted seniors. Just yesterday, my eldest granddaughter texted a picture of a book entitled Your Grandmother’s Story. The subtitle reads Grandma, I want to know everything about you . . . She purchased one for both of us grandmothers, thinking it would be nice to have.
I’m not the only elder being summoned. A dear Christian friend of mine visited her daughter out of state a few months back. After sharing a random memory from her days living in a foreign country, her daughter exclaimed, “Mom, I never thought about what your life was like before I was born!” My friend is now gearing up to write her memoirs.
How we personally walk out this call to action, you’ll have to ask the Lord for yourself. For me, I’m thinking I’d best get to writing some things down because this recent text from my granddaughter was my second summons. The first came from my second-eldest granddaughter in response to my request for her Christmas-wish list.
I really just want a nice journal full of stuff written by you about life advice, knowledge, marriage and relationship advice you’ve learned, verses, words and messages of courage, sermons you adored, songs that spoke to you and messages as to how and why, stories about your life throughout every milestone and what you learned and how you would’ve done differently now.
If these three younger ones serve as their generation’s voice, then I suggest we lend a listening ear and get moving. Write a memoir. Send a letter. Share photos. Make a phone call. Meet over lunch, meet at the park, the coffee shop, an ice cream parlor. Friendly chats can become heart-to-hearts, and suddenly there’s your window to speak. One generation shall praise Your mighty works to another, And shall declare Your mighty and remarkable acts. [viii]