Remember Me in Your Youth
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The other day I went to visit James, a dear friend of mine who is in hospice care. Being thirty years my senior he has sort of been a mentor to me. In fact his entire family is very special. His sister, Miss Opal was my sidekick for many years. When her health began to fail and after her only remaining child, Joan was killed in a single car accident I sort of tried to fill a void in her life. Being a widow Opal found herself sick, and alone for the first time in decades.

 

Growing up I had a huge crush on her son, Larry. Larry was killed in an automobile accident when he was seventeen years old. I will never forget going to church that Sunday morning after the wreck on Saturday night and hearing that my friend Larry had ran off the road in his black car and hit a house…and died. I wrote a poem titled, The Black Car.” Miss Opal cherished that poem until the day of her passing.

 

Had fate thrown Larry and I together in our youth so that years later I would be provoked to help his mother when she grew unable to drive and needed assistance with laundry and grocery shopping? One day when I face the Lord all these uncertainties will be revealed and God will smile when I ask Him question after question. I truly believe all things happen for a reason.

 

My friend Opal passed away in 1999. She suffered physically that last year of her life, being on a ventilator, not able to eat food or talk. Opal also suffered emotionally for years before her death, losing her son at a young age, a husband and then her only daughter. But she was a blessing to me and she will never be forgotten, just like her brother James and sister Estelle, these siblings have left me with many life lessons to build upon. Estelle and James are both failing as they approach their mid-eighties. I can’t help but think of this scripture as I ponder on our aging bodies:

 

Ecclesiastes 12:1

Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them.”

 

Are we thankful enough for our health? Do we thank God for the blessings of just being pain free, able to walk, talk, see, hear, and most especially able to take care of our self? Honestly I don’t know why God lets some people grow old and others go on up to heaven in the springtime of life. But in the above scripture God plainly tells us that old age will bring difficult days and that we may have no pleasure in them.

 

Aging is as natural as breathing. We are born to die, passing the torch to the next generation, but as humans we want to hang on, to live life to the fullest, to experience all there is to experience, to live forever. We don’t want to give up what we know here on earth for something that is foreign to us. But, we have no choice. From the day of our birth we start the dying process. Death does not discriminate it comes to us all.

 

My special friend, Opal taught me many things. She showed me through living her life that we should be thankful for everything that happens to us, the good as well as the bad, and that we should love people. She lost her son, husband, and then her daughter, but did she ever once complain? No. One time when I was dropping her off from church she looked at me with tears in her eyes as we sat in my car. She glanced at her home and said, “I hope God doesn’t take my house too, that’s the only thing I have left.” She wasn’t angry, just stating a fact.

 

What do you have today, a warm home, plenty to eat, a family, a car, a job, excellent health, and your youth? As the scripture says, Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth. Don’t become so arrogant in your youth that you forget where all your blessings come from.

 

God gave us life on earth. I believe that He wants us to flourish, to have abundant happiness and pleasure in the here and now, but I think that we should remember that in the days of our youth, before the afflictions of aging comes upon us we should be about the Lords work and thankful for every day that we are pain free and able to stand on our own two feet. 

 

Some people will live on in my heart forever. People who have made me feel special, like James. From the first time I met him many years ago he nicknamed me, “Your Majesty.” Why he calls me that I’ll never know because I am the farthest thing in the world from royalty. When I went to the Hospice house to see him, his daughter said, “Dad, do you know who this is?” James looked at me and plainly spoke, “Your Majesty.” You think that didn’t make my day?

 

Reach out to someone, make them feel special; encourage them through rough times. We never know how what we do today will influence someone’s life. Thank you Opal, James and Estelle for making this old girl feel like a Queen. I will never forget your love and kindness to me. And hopefully I will follow your example and pass on your message of humility to the world.

 

 

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