Old age, however you define “old”, is a time of slowing down. A time of reduced expectations. When things that once were strong begin to slip away. I’m old, and though I hate to admit it, I’m beginning to accept those ideas as fact.
Or at least, I was. Then in my reading I came across a surprising verse from the Psalms. “The righteous flourish like the palm tree…They are planted in the house of the Lord…In old age they still produce fruit.” (Psalm 92:12-14)
The old have already produced fruit. One of the ways of caring for the deepest inner places in them is to recognize what they have given throughout their life. Their accomplishment. Their love. The insights they’ve shared. The memories you hold dear. But don’t stop there. Look each day for some current “fruit”, some way in which they’ve blessed or encouraged you, some kindness for which to say “thanks”.
Your recognition that “in old age they still produce fruit” can deepen a sense of usefulness in the one you care for – regardless of age. And the process of looking for evidence of fruitfulness will sharpen and deepen your sensitivity to the inner life of the one you care for.
Help me, O Lord, to recognize fruitfulness and honor it. Amen.
Photos courtesy of Ken Jones, copyright 2016.