Just because you’ve consumed oxygen for ninety years does not make you a sage or mentor. It can mean that you’ve taken up space and have lived a long life.
Human years are measured in a chronological fashion, one after another; one more birthday cake with one more candle on it. The Christian years are measured in experiences and the abiding virtues of faith, hope and charity.
Evolving into seclusion and indifference and a paranoid cynicism is hardly Christian stuff. Revolving around Christ through all experiences and growing deeper into his love brings about a truly “golden years” person. Possessing strong and strident opinions does not make you smart but dialoguing and working together gets the job done.
An eight year old with leukemia can appropriate a perspective and wisdom that can be lost on a World War II veteran. The maturity of human years may not be present but the Christian years that influence this young person can attain a true sense of peace and hope.
Ask anyone what enduring feeling he/she would aspire to receive in life. The answer, no matter the words, would amount to peace and hope; an inner peace and a hope that this life was worth it. The trick is that hope and peace are not received but acknowledged. These virtues live within us waiting for arousal, sustenance to sustain themselves and the open air to be freely experienced.
Healthcare uses the acronym ADL to summarize what needs to get someone through the day. “Activities of Daily Living” include the ability to dress yourself, feed yourself and sufficiently function. Those are the ADL’s of human living. The ADL’s of Christian living is the ability to forgive as often as possible, both yourself and whoever offends you; to gain a perspective that can lift you from any difficult moment to a level where patience and level thinking takes over. The human is functional, the Christian is the poet; the human gets you through the day, the Christian fully lives the day; the human lives a long life, the Christian lives a life through others, in and for Christ.