4 Sep

Let’s Not Devalue The Elderly

 [Jesus] told them a parable.
“No one tears a piece from a new cloak to patch an old one.
Otherwise, he will tear the new
and the piece from it will not match the old cloak.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the new wine will burst the skins,
and it will be spilled, and the skins will be ruined.
Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins.
And no one who has been drinking old wine desires new,
for he says, ‘The old is good.'”  (Lk 5:36-39)

“Old.”  Old is not a word that most of us like to hear.

I know, for myself, I do not like that word ascribed to me and I will only be 59 at the end of October.  For the past several years, doctors — eye, dentist, general practitioner, cardiologist, orthopedic — have been saying “At your age…” before telling me what new problem(s) I have developed.  I feel as if “old” is not going to be very good.

A lot of people treat old as disdainful.

When shopping, they are attracted to things that say “New”.

When vacationing, people often try something different, something new, something that they have not done before because they don’t want to be associated with the “old ways.”

I often hear people use the disclaimer, “Yeah, you’ve done it that way for a long time but what do you really know?  Do you know the new things that have been going on?!”

The problem is that, if we cut off the old, we will never have an appreciation from where we have come.  Without that appreciation, we will not be able to find where we are going because we will lose our way.  We will do so because we will not have the benefit of learning from the old.

Old and new are very important.  They are not mutually exclusive.  They can easily go hand in hand.  Let us not treat the “old” as something to be discarded.  Rather, let us cherish it and learn from it.

FAITH ACTION:  If in a position to do so, seek out the elderly today — perhaps a relative or someone in a hospital or nursing home or shut in — and spend some quality time with that person.  If not in a position to do so, pray for the elderly who have been neglected or ostracized by family or friends.