Youth can walk faster, but the elder knows the road.
– African proverb
Most of you know that I live in what is called an “active over 55” community. I am currently among the youngest there, and I can walk faster than many of my neighbors! And while the elders of any community may not have all the answers, and may struggle with change right alongside the rest of us, they know many roads. What a gift it is to be motivated by youth and inspired by elders. The trick, if you will, is to listen and learn from both ends of the life continuum as we move out of a liminal time into a new something we don’t yet know how to define.
Just a couple of weeks ago I had the delight and privilege to be a guest at a Four Score Luncheon of elders from our congregation. There were nearly a dozen 80-and-over in attendance, with several more unable to attend. That’s a lot of wisdom and inspiration! We laughed loudly, enjoyed gracious hospitality, and shared stories on everything from living arrangements to music, to family, to childhood, to transgender awareness. I’m pretty sure we could have stayed well into the evening listening, learning, and laughing.
This month we will be moved by our youth in their Sunday service, and we will witness their bridging from high school to the next chapter in their young lives. We will celebrate them and offer our support; knowing they are the future leaders with unique strengths and perspectives. It is a highlight in our congregational year. Let us also look for opportunities to listen to the elders in our beloved community and appreciate their enthusiasm, unique strengths, and willingness to share. We are incredibly blessed to have a multigenerational congregation!
With a heart full of gratitude,