Grow Old Gracefully by Living Gratefully; 1928

Grow Old Gracefully by Living Gratefully; 1928

“Growing Old” is not a very welcome subject in America just now. [Or in 2021, for that matter!] Beauty experts and Keep-young-societies are filling the land with Anti-wrinkle Truth, yet the simple fact remains that our yesterdays do not come back.

For most people, the advancing years are a blessing for through them we grow away from the follies and fictions of life to a real understanding of the meaning of things.

Growing old gracefully is largely a matter of living gratefully. 

To me, in middle life, sunrises and sunsets have lost none of their beauty. Mr. Thomas Edison, now at eighty says, “The things which I now do give me as much pleasure as the things which I did when younger.”

There is really no age to the mind or to the soul. What seems to be age is a slowing up of the bodily processes. Glad of each morning, and grateful to God for the blessings of each day, my faith is that our souls defy the calendar.

To grow old gracefully, one must learn to sidestep worry. Worry is the plow that furrows our faces. It is a useless sin and does incalculable harm. Worry tries to tack tomorrow’s load upon the tired shoulders of today. It causes us to reach our little hands to take the reins out of the great hands of God. Every time we give up to worry we release poisons into our blood that unfits us for our tasks, and make us take hold of the tools of life with palsied hands.

Jesus observed over-anxious people and said to them, “If God so clothed the grass which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, oh ye of little faith?”

The amazing thing about Jesus is that he could face all the suffering which he knew was ahead of him without worrying about it. He certainly is our Teacher and Master in the school of trust.

To grow old gracefully one must keep busy at useful tasks. The do-nothing becomes an is-nothing. Someone says, “Suppose a person is so crippled that he cannot walk, what then?” I would reply, “No one ever arrives at the place where he needs to be useless.” I knew of a lady who was bedfast for years. Her room became a sort of shrine where people went to catch her faith and see her smile. Physically helpless, she became perhaps the most useful person in the town.

I once read in an undertaker’s magazine, “If you want a coffin, stop working and you will soon get one.” One is doing a useful task in the world who perfects an even temper in suffering, though he is deprived of active toiling.

To grow old gracefully, it is necessary to preserve faith in oneself, one’s neighbor and in God. How much easier it is to preach this doctrine than it is to practice it! We fail to reach our ideals and then give up trying. Others fail us and we lose faith in them. Life shows its teeth to us and we lose faith in God. Yet, in all this there is hope for us. Even though we fail, we can believe that we are capable of better things. A man is always better than his worst. So is his neighbor.

A better understanding of the ways of God come to us with the passing of the years, making it possible for us at last to sing.

“Blest be the tempest, kind the storm
That drives us nearer home.”

To me, old age is a beautiful thing and I am going to strive to keep to the above directions, hoping that I shall be able to prove them, should God give to me the time of gray hairs.

The Bible says, “A hoary (gray) head is a crown of glory if it be found in the way of righteousness.”

Robert Browning adds:
“Grow old along with me,
The best is yet to be.”

3 Replies on “Grow Old Gracefully by Living Gratefully; 1928

  1. I am 60 odd (and getting odder every day, just ask my family). I don’t feel ‘old’, I simply am myself. I do more work and more physical activities than many women half my age. Yes, I have the beginnings of wrinkles and other signs of aging, however that doesn’t mean that I am weak or feeble. I have a husband who is 15 years younger than myself (I’m not a cradle robber–I’m a playground poacher). I have yet to read anywhere in the Bible that people retired and did nothing. In Joshua 14:11-13, Caleb requested that he be given a mountain to over take, and he was in his 80s I believe. I prefer mountains to retirement, and one of my inspirations if Ernestine Shepard–the oldest womens body building champion in her 80s. I don’t fear aging—I simply prefer to live as much as possible, no matter my age.

    1. What I learned most from your comment can be summed up in a word you did not use–Health. I am 60-odd also, and see with more clarity than ever before how much the choices (for good or bad) that I made in my younger years affect me now in my latter days. And I loved your “Playground Poacher” label. I have never heard that before.

      1. I agree about health being the main reason I am in good shape now. I was 49 and the Redneck was 34 when we met, so you can imagine the flack I got over that. Trust me, I had no intention of having a husband that young, but after almost 22 years, we seem to be doing pretty good!

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