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Chips off the ol’ block

Chips off the ol’ block

Chips off the ol’ block

Monday, March 19th, 2012

I sent an email the other day, and, as often happens with my fat fingers attacking the keyboard, I made a typo. This time, however, the typo activated the ‘auto-correct’ feature. It morphed my word into something I didn’t intend. I meant to apologize for having sent a previous email that was also incorrect. I thought I had typed “Sorry, again…wrong information sent.” Instead, the computer turned it into “Sorry, aging… wrong information sent.”

I hit the ‘send’ button and then realized my error. With a heavy sigh I came to the realization that the altered message was probably accurate. Aging is as good an excuse as any for my numerous faux pas. 

The other day I was helping a friend with her computer. We met at McDonalds where there was internet access. We opened our laptops so that I could show her the process. In less than half an hour I had spilled honey on my laptop, stuck my finger in the ketchup and inadvertently tossed my sunglasses into the waste bin. They had been sitting with the trash on my tray. My friend chose to observe from a distance while, in full view of a busy restaurant, I rifled through the garbage bin. I retrieved my glasses, but not my pride.

Aging is a fact of life. I take strength from the verse in scripture which says: “The glory of young men is their strength; and the beauty of old men is the grey head.” Psalm 20:29. That verse has applied to me for many years. Some time ago a grade one student heard me make a comment about my grey hair. I like to think it was in an attempt to encourage me, that he said with much enthusiasm: “You don’t have grey hair, Pastor Kranz. It’s white! All white!” 

Aging is a fact of life. But feeling old is a choice we make.

Liz and I have two friends in Pennsylvania whom we came to know during the year we spent living just north of Pittsburgh. I was doing my pastoral internship. Betty and Tom, members of the congregations I served, took us in, adopted us as part of their family, and were a special blessing to us while we lived in Yatesboro, PA.

Both Betty and Tom are well up in years now. Betty is struggling with very ill health. Only recently she came home from an extended stay in hospital. Tom suffers also from ailments that make it most difficult for him to care for his home and his infirm wife. Just last year around this time they had to bury their only daughter, who died suddenly leaving a young family behind. And yet, through many struggles, Tom and Betty have maintained an outlook that defies both age and circumstance.

I phoned them last week, and Betty answered. I was surprised to hear her voice, assuming she was still in hospital. I asked how she was feeling and she cheerily said “Just fine.” I told her she truly sounded fine over the phone. To which she responded, “Yeah, well you should see how good I look!” Tom came on the phone. I told him how Betty was boasting about how good she looked, to which he responded, “Yes, well, that’s because she’s never looked in a mirror.” I could hear Betty complaining in the background. I laughed and commented that for his own safety he had better be sitting on the other side of the room. To which he responded, “Aw, I don’t have anything to worry about. She couldn’t get out the chair anyway without my help!”

Aging is a fact of life. Feeling old is a choice we make.

Each of us has to find our own way of dealing with the onslaught of years as they accumulate around us. I have the advantage of being around children every day, and that in itself helps keep me young. 

The greatest tonic for ‘old-itis’ is connecting with children. Take it from Dr. Doug! It’s the only treatment guaranteed to work! 

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