I’ve always had a love for older adults. You know…we call them Senior Citizens. I get a big smile on my face when I’m around them – kind of like how some people get when they’re around babies. There’s just something sacred about someone who has walked this earth way longer than I have.
In high school I would jump at the chance to drive the hour to Seal Beach to pick up my sweet Grandma, Cora for a family get-together. It gave me the chance to talk with her in the car, love on her a smidge, and it did my own heart good to have been with her. I always walked away feeling as if I’d been blessed to sit at the feet of someone who had lived in another century than I had.
My friend, Robyn calls these people “raisins” for reasons that I assume you can figure out. She has funny names for all sorts of things; body parts, people, abbreviated words, etc. She is one of my joys and keeps me in smile mode regularly. I wonder what word she would make up for young people? If we’re staying in the fruit category….maybe peaches?
Raisins have experienced both suffering and joy for more years that I have lived. They’ve been beat-up and blessed, and I just feel like they deserve respect and grace. Sometime even E.G.R…..”extra grace required”. What a shock it was to me when I realized that not all peaches feel the same way I do about raisins. Is this generation less inclined to find value in the wisdom of their elders? Are they not able to look outside themselves and appreciate the wisdom gained through wrinkled skin? I’m a smidge worried about that because I’m gonna be a full-fledged, card-carrying raisin sooner than later.
I think it would simplify the process of seeing wisdom in others for young whippersnappers….oh sorry…I mean peaches if there were a way to take blinders off their eyes and give them the gift to see wisdom in someone’s face. To be able to look and simply see it in someone’s eyes. To be able to recognize that there is truth-telling going on when a raisin speaks truth into your life. What young peaches don’t know is that this super-power is oftentimes built in to those with wrinkles on their face in their downhill years. I’m probably not the first to tell you this, but it’s true; the longer you’ve walked this earth the more you know. By the way…you’re officially a raisin if you use the term “whippersnappers”.
It works the other way, too. That same super-power comes to raisins in reverse; to be able to look at peaches and see the potential in them. To look past their young mistakes and see the possibilities just oozing to get out of young peaches. Something I’ve learned by being a parent is how God’s love for us is a similar picture of how we view our kids. Because of grace, we potentially can see them not as a screw-up, but as a caterpillar working towards becoming a butterfly – starting on the inside and working out. Oh my….I just jumped from fruits to insects.
I drove past the local high school back in May just as the kids were getting out of finals. Traffic backed up, and as I drove through the droves of kids excited about the end of the school year, I looked into those young faces. Its interesting when you look at a high schooler and you can project what they might physically look like when they’re older. That’s one of those abilities that only comes with having been around the block a few times.
I saw the confusion in some of their eyes. The hope in others. And as I saw the crazy hair do’s, the acne on their faces, the overweight and the scrawny, and the fashion faux-pau’s…I smiled because I knew 80% of them would be completely different in 20 years. I know that because that’s what its like when you age. Most are transformed from what they looked like and were when they walked across the stage to receive their diploma. Some get better looking, some will bald, some will completely change their hair color, some will change habits, some will become nicer, some will become crankier, some will adopt healthier lifestyles, some will become bitter, some will overcome addictions, some will become passionate about a cause because of a life-changing event in their life, some will suffer undeservedly, and some will die at a young age. And then some stay right where they are – in high school until they’re 90.
My hope for the peaches of the world is that you would adopt grace for the raisins in your lives, and spend time regularly with someone over 60. Be intentional about it. Call your parents on the phone. Take a vacation with them. Respond to their texts and phone calls. Take cookies to an elderly neighbor who is lonely. And quit honking at them when you’re driving – for gosh sakes! You’re gonna give them a heart attack.
And my hope for the raisins of the world is that as you age you would keep moving – walk, cycle, run, jump, or roll your wheelchair up and down the street. In other words…”move it or lose it”. And try to keep up with technology so when those peaches do email or text you, you know how to respond. And my prayer is that at the end of your journey you can look back with no regrets and say that you’re less stupid that when you started because of the good and bad choices you made. Now that’s being a grown up. And that’s God’s grace. What a gift to us all.
Gotta go….I’m having this unexplainable craving for some fruit! 🙂