Growing Old Or Growing Up
Remember, growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional. We make a Living by what we get, We make a Life by what we give.
Yesterday I was bemoaning my physical ailments. I was alone and my bones creaked loudly and ached badly as I got out of bed. And before I even opened my eyes, I said to myself that it would be a very long, and most likely, a very miserable day!
Now even though I posted one of my “feel-good inspirational” pictures, as I have done every day for months now, on my social media page, I was far from living what I was reading and writing. In fact, I shared a picture with a quote from Thomas A. Edison (yes….that Thomas Edison!) that said, “What man’s mind can create, man’s character can control.” And I followed the picture with some sage words of my own. “Make up your mind that today will be great and then do what you need to follow through on that choice!” The problem was, I had already made up my mind what kind of day I would have, before I had even put my feet on the floor!
Indeed, I was feeling somewhat guilty for misleading everyone with my “Pollyanna” words when my head was lifeless, apathetic and spiritless! So I decided to do something about it. I had to have some maintenance work done on my daughter’s car (after all, I had stressed it driving 626.21 miles in 9 hrs and 45 minutes!), so I decided that I would not watch the TV in the waiting room at the dealership. I would, instead, search for some inspiration for ME. So I let my phone do some walking down the information highway, and I happened upon the story I want to share. AND, I received a wake up slap to the brain like none I had ever felt before. Yes, I knew for certain that I had not happened upon this story by chance. No, I was led to it by a divine hand who knew I needed to read it, if only to put my own blessings into perspective. And clarity I received!
An 87 Year Old College Student Named Rose
The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn’t already know.
I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being.
She said, “Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I’m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?”
I laughed and enthusiastically responded, “Of course you may!” and she gave me a giant squeeze.
“Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?” I asked.
She jokingly replied, “I’m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids…”
“No seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.
“I always dreamed of having a college education and now I’m getting one!” she told me.
After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the next three months, we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this “time machine” as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.
Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.
At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I’ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium.
As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, “I’m sorry I’m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I’ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell
you what I know.”
As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, “We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day.
You’ve got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die.
We have so many people walking around who are dead and don’t even know it! There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up.
If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don’t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old.
If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.
Anybody can grow older. That doesn’t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets.
The elderly usually don’t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets.”
She concluded her speech by courageously singing “The Rose.”
She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.
At the year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep.
Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be all you can possibly be .
So, my friends. I want you to always remember this one last thing! When you finish reading this, please send the peaceful word of advice that appears in the quote above, to your friends and family! And if you wonder whether or not you can take one more step forward in life, remember this remarkable 87 year young woman named Rose. Remember what she accomplished. And even more, remember what her impact was on the lives of thousands of other young….and not so young….people who were blessed to be touched by her special gift of self! And then ask yourself, what you can give to others each and every day of your life!
Some say love, it is a river
that drowns the tender reed.
Some say love, it is a razor
that leaves your soul to bleed.
Some say love, it is a hunger
an endless aching need.
I say love, it is a flower
and you its only seed.
It’s the heart afraid of breaking
that never learns to dance,
It’s the dream afraid of waking, that never takes the chance.
It’s the one who won’t be taken,
who cannot seem to give
and the soul afraid of dying, that never learns to live.
When the night has been too lonely
and the road has been too long,
and you think that love is only
for the lucky and the strong.
Just remember in the winter, far beneath the bitter snows
lies the seed
that with the sun’s love
in the spring
becomes the rose
One person gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.
Proverbs 11:24-25 NIV
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