God tells us, “You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man (or woman), and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:32
Maybe I like this strong directive from God because at this point in my life I am a “gray head.” (More like “white hair” but you get the picture.) I suppose some would call me “old” although Larry and I prefer to think of ourselves as “JPP.” (Just Past Prime.)
Anyway, back to the verse about showing respect to the elderly. Why do you think that God says, “stand up before the elderly”? To me, it boils down to preserving the dignity of our fellow human beings.
Years ago, I discovered the following poem and it spoke to me so beautifully. Perhaps when you read it, you will be encouraged to remember that elderly people deserve our respect. And may we all be lucky enough to one day be JPP.
Beatitudes for Friends of the Aged
By Esther Mary Walker
Blessed are they who understand
my faltering steps and shaking hand.
Blessed are they who know that my ears today
must strain to catch the words they say.
Blessed are they who seem to know
that my eyes are dim and my reactions slow.
Blessed are they who look away
when my coffee gets spilled during the day.
Blessed are they with a cheery smile
who stop to chat with me for a while.
Blessed are they who never say
“You’ve told that story twice today.”
Blessed are they who know the ways
to bring back lovely yesterdays.
Blessed are they who make it known
that I am loved, respected and not alone.
Blessed are they who know the loss
of strength I need to bear the cross.
Blessed are they who ease the days
of my journey home in loving ways.
According to the Koinonia Senior Care facility, this poem was written many years ago by Esther Mary Walker, who passed away in 2005. Esther was a caregiver for her father.