I don’t know exactly why it’s the case, but I’ve always had a special affection for old people. While many people can’t stand to spend time with them, I adore the opportunity. Sometimes I’ve wondered if my love of older people comes from this scripture:
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. –James 1:27
You can ask my wife. It’s almost embarrassing how much I enjoy spending time with older people. I love to hear their stories. I love to find out who they really are, where they’ve been, and what makes them who they’ve become. Most of them love to share.
If I’m being really honest, I bet the reason I love old people so much is that I love putting a smile on their face. In many cases, they’re lonely and need a friend. When you extend a hand of love and friendship to them, they grip on with both hands. It’s a lovely experience that’s hard to replicate. I’ve had it hundreds of times and I never cease to enjoy it.
While I act like I’m bringing some care and friendship to these older people, the reality is that I always end up with more love and affection in return. In fact, if you’re not getting enough love and affection, go and become a friend with an old person. You’ll be amazed how much you get back in return.
I saw all of this first hand with my friend Lola. I met Lola at church. I can’t remember how we became friends, but it’s not uncommon for me to seek out the older people at church and become their friends. Over the past 9 years Lola brought me such immense joy. My weekly ritual was to go and give her a hug in the library. We’d take her and her husband Thanksgiving dinner the past couple years. I was so happy to have my kids help me with this so they could see how grateful they were for the kindness. My kids were blessed to spend time with them. I loved singing with her around the piano as her husband played. My life was better with Lola in it.
That’s why it hurts to hear the news that Lola passed away. She was suffering all sorts of crazy illnesses, but she suffered it well. I’m sure a part of her was happy to leave those illnesses behind and depart this mortal sphere. I know she’s happy in heaven and that I’ll see her again one day where I’ll give her a massive hug. However, that knowledge doesn’t hide the sadness I feel with her gone.
Loving old people is great, until it starts to hurt. I’ll miss you my dear friend Lola.