I got to see a couple of professional grouches up close recently and I was impressed. They were good.
I had been at the clinic to get a test done and there was this old couple there. He griped at her and she griped at him. I mean they managed to make each other feel bad and make those around them uneasy.
Actually, I wasn’t uneasy. I thought they were funny but I figured that if they griped at each other that much in public, they must be terrors in private.
The same day there was this other old lady. She was a whiner. She whined to the secretary about something or other. Her high pitiful voice was designed to elicit sympathy. I almost felt sorry for her but I had the feeling that the whine was more or less permanent.
It wasn’t pretty.
When you get really old, a lot of your faculties diminish. There’s not a lot left. (I’m not trying to scare you. This usually sets in around 100 years old, I suspect). What’s going to be left of me or you when we’re really old—just a whine or a grouch?
You are becoming that old man or mature woman you will be.
Christianity Today magazine related the story of Robertson McQuilkin, the president of a seminary, and his wife, Murielle.
When he was 57 his wife began to have symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The disease progressed until he eventually gave up his ministry to stay at home and take care of her.
Before that, though, the board of direction of the school hired someone to stay with Murielle while he was at work. But she couldn’t bear to be apart from him. During those two years she sometimes made the one-mile round trip to his office up to ten times a day.
“With me she was content; without me she was distressed.”
Sometimes at night as he helped her get ready for bed he found that her feet had bled.
“When I told our family doctor about that, his eyes filled with tears. ‘What love,’ he said. ‘I have a theory that the characteristics that we’ve developed during life come out in times like this.’”
Mr. McQuilkin adds, “I want to love God like that—desperate to be with him all the time.”
If nothing much was left of you, what would be people see? A big smile like that of the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland?
Or a grouch? Or a whine? Or praise? A desperate love for God? Or fear? Or thanksgiving? Or criticism? Or expressions of love?
Are you working on the old man you’re going to be? Or the woman of a certain age that you’re going to be. (Did you see how I handled that? I’m not dumb enough to say “old lady.” Not only is it politically incorrect to say that, it’s dangerous).
If only your most prominent characteristic remains, what will that look like? (Hint: if you don’t know, ask those around you. They know.)
Be like old man Caleb: “The people of Judah came to Joshua at Gilgal. Caleb son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite spoke: “You’ll remember what God said to Moses the man of God concerning you and me back at Kadesh Barnea. I was forty years old when Moses the servant of God sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land. And I brought back an honest and accurate report…
“It is now forty-five years since God spoke this word to Moses, years in which Israel wandered in the wilderness. And here I am today, eighty-five years old! I’m as strong as I was the day Moses sent me out. I’m as strong as ever in battle, whether coming or going. So give me this hill country that God promised me. You yourself heard the report, that the Anakim were there with their great fortress cities. If God goes with me, I will drive them out, just as God said.” (Joshua 14:6-12, Message)
“Don’t allow your wounds to turn you into a person you are not. Hang in there. The rest of your life is the best of your life.” Zig Ziglar
Here’s an article that might interest you by one of my sons:
5 reasons why many Christian Men remain single.