2016-10-11 - What People Say ~ Age-Related Comments
And What the Bible Says About It
First, I would like to clarify something that I mentioned in my most recent devotional in this series. Later, I realized that what I shared was incomplete. The one medical professional that told Richard to "work harder" and "work tediously" didn't know him well, and wasn't involved with his everyday care, though she had a very important role in his case. But in fact, every single one of his daily Physical Therapists said they had to watch out to ensure that he didn't OVERDO it. As one of them said, he is very motivated and hard-working, but the Physical Therapy for Guillain-Barre patients is different than normal PT, with more frequent breaks, less duration needed etc. Anyone who knows Richard, knows the thing to watch for is always the possibility of OVERdoing it! So she was off the mark in several ways! I apologize for the lack of clarity. That is what happens, when one writes a devotional with only two hours of sleep!
Age-related Comments to Those in Crisis
Richard and I haven't heard a lot of these comments, but unfortunately, we have too often heard age-related comments made to people all along the age spectrum. Starting with babies, parents who have lost a cherished infant or fetus are sometimes told "don't worry; you can have other babies," as if that will make up for the deep pain of the loss of that precious child, as well as the hopes and expectations they have had. Middle-aged people are sometimes "comforted" with thoughts such as "at least, s/he has lived a good life so far, and it isn't as bad as if it happened to a younger person." But in fact, we who are middle-aged or Seniors are often more aware of the shortness of life, and what the changes mean. As Richard has said in our case, we have already lost almost a year of our lives, and we are going to cherish every moment even more than before. This dovetails with the comments related to older folks who experience a serious illness, catastrophe or death: "At least s/he had a full life." That type of thinking does not lessen the grief of the family members at all, nor does it encourage the ill or victimized elderly person who has lost a home, livelihood, abilities to function normally or anything else.
In fact, God has always used people of all ages, and the Bible teaches us that life of all ages is equally valuable to Him.
As has been true with all of these well-intentioned but backfiring comments, often it's best to simply remain silent, and offer a support of presence.
Series to be continued.
Janice P. Moser
All scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.