Wednesday, 06 March 2013 14:42

Fountain of Life/Fountain of Youth

Written by  Bob Crittendon
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Recently, my wife and kids and I journeyed to the house in which I grew up, in the Atlanta area, to throw a 90th birthday party for my mother.  My wife, Beth, who has an incredible gift of hospitality, organized the food and décor and designed the invitations; my preparatory role was to handle the printing and mailing.  On a windy, cold, rainy December afternoon, dozens came together to honor my mother…

 

Just before the party started at 2:00, one of my mom’s long-time friends, 92 years young, drove up in her car.  There are a number of my mom’s friends who are close to 90 or even above.  Some have departed and some, while quite infirmed, are still around.

 

At the party, Beth and I were in a conversation about some of those ladies who have been in my mom’s Sunday School class and prayer group.  To the leader of the prayer group, who was present, I remarked that there must have been “something in the water” at First Baptist Church of Marietta, my parents’ home church.  There did seem to be a “fountain of youth”, but it really didn’t have to do with the water fountain. The Bible says in Psalm 36:

 

How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.

They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house, And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures.

For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.(NKJV)

 

 

I thought about some of the common attributes of the ladies in this group.  I can’t scientifically say that these factors contributed to their longevity, but these are some guiding principles that can actually be beneficial to all of us in our spiritual lives.  

 

First of all, they received Christ.  I know that my mother has a relationship with Jesus, and she and my father raised me in the church and exposed me to the principles of the Scriptures – Jesus is the Lord of her life, and these ladies were dedicated to Him.

 

They were related to church.  Growing up, our family was regularly in church, and their Sunday School classes were a huge part of their lives and their circle of friends.  My mom was part of the Phebean class, many times serving as the class president.  Even though my mom has some mobility issues now and cannot attend faithfully, one of the men in the media ministry, who was at the party and lives closeby, weekly brings a CD from the church service.  At Christmas time last year, one of the church deacons came by and shared communion with our family at my mom’s house.  My parents have demonstrated the importance of allowing a significant portion of our lives to revolve around a relationship with the church.  

 

They revered community.  The church became a great source for a sense of community.  Even to this day, my mom stays connected to people – she is very plugged in, and has developed a reputation as being a very caring person.  You get a great sense of that by talking with people whose lives she has touched.  Community continues to be important to her, when it could be very easy to become isolated as a senior.  These ladies care, and they really seem to keep up with each other.

 

They regularly communicate.  My mom doesn’t have an Internet connection at the house; she doesn’t do social media or e-mail!  The phone suffices (using a mouth and not a keyboard!), with an occasional visit or card.  Intentionally reaching out to others is an important component.

 

Finally, some in the group have rejected complacency.  This is huge!  I remember when my dad retired, my parents didn’t just settle into a sedentary lifestyle.  They traveled – they bought a timeshare in Gatlinburg; they had friends with whom they would take trips.  And, they had those regular visits to Montgomery to see the grandchildren.  After my dad passed away, my mom had a travelling companion and they would go places together – it was very special at the party to see the two of them talking and commenting about the memorable times they’ve had.  My mom was in a rehab facility for three months last year, and it was a bit disconcerting for me to think about her being in that room 24/7 with very little interaction or activity…for the first week, she didn’t even have a phone!  It is important to stay active and engaged.

 

Again, these are not scientific conclusions about the length of life demonstrated by these ladies.  I do think these represent some time-honored principles that can be helpful for all of us as we desire to have an extended period of usefulness to Christ.

 

 

 

 

 

Last modified on Wednesday, 06 March 2013 14:46
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