I love seniors! It's my favorite crowd to hang out with. I figure out ways to wriggle into their lives - cleaning their house, weeding their yard, just coming over to have tea...whatever I can do to get to bask in their years of Wisdom.
Doesn't this face say it all? Years of ups and downs, years of learning, wisdom gained. I could sit at his feet for hours and just listen. This is Smokey. One of the dearest men to StudHusband. Worked with literally thousand of young men in a Californian boys camp that targets tougher inner city LA boys and challenges them to make the right choices. StudHusband worked at this camp for 10 years. Smokey was a Living Legend. He went home to meet His God this last October.
Now, some older folk are just plain grumpy. But many seem to me to be as kind and full of Grace as Jesus Himself. Seriously. Years of seeking God Has made them closer to His likeness than any of us young-ins could be.
So, what makes for this major gap between grumpy old men and gentle-spirited old men?
In talking with these folks I have learned that grumpy does not equate with the hardest life and sweet does not mean life was a bed of roses. In fact, some of the grumpiest had much less to complain about then some of the sweetest.
Through saints that have passed on like my grandma Ruth or Smokey, I have learned this most profound truth:
Life is hard. But every time there is a challenging season, we have 2 choices. We can choose to be Bitter or we can choose to be Better. To allow our hard circumstances to grow us closer to God and make us better as we Hold HIS hand in these moments is what is ultimately going to shape us into men and women of grace. Every one of these elderly folk endured hard times, it was how they chose to endure them as each obstacle presented itself that all added up to either a gentle spirit or an ornery spirit.
You can tell from Smokey's face what he always chose when hard times surrounded him: He chose the High Road to a Grace filled Life.