I recently began attending a weekly bible study at my church. Before I showed up that first day, I didn’t know that I was going to be the youngest person there by at least 20-30 years.
I also recently got to spend a wonderful evening eating dinner and playing games with my grandparents. I hadn’t seen them in awhile, so this was a big treat.
What do bible studies and game nights have in common?
First of all, I plan on participating in them a lot more.
Secondly, I’m going to try to say this as respectful as I can while still being blunt: old people.
Like almost everything in my life, whether contentiously or not, I relate to the things going on around me through books. I didn’t even know it was possible to make this type of connection before…until I did. I was sitting at my grandparent’s table. There was a lull in the conversation and I was thinking about an old book on my shelf that had caught my attention earlier that day. I was contemplating whether I wanted to drop my current reading pile and list and re-read this book, and then I started relating that to spending time with my grandparents…
And that’s how #1 popped into my mind. I’m just going to jump right into it…
Like our favorite books, the older people in our lives are often our most treasured family members. They are a constant. They are familiar, comforting, loving, warm, helpful…All of these things make me think of the books that I have carried with me through the years because I couldn’t let them go. You might not think of the older people in your life in this light, but can you see the connection that I’m making? The love of a grandparent and the comfort of a favorite book is like nothing else in the world.
Wisdom can often be found in older books. I strongly believe that today’s literature has its own wisdom. However, it cannot hold a candlestick to the literature of the past. When was the last time you sought wisdom from someone who has lived longer than you? I enjoy my bible study, but I’m not much of a talker. My new friends have taken advantage of my willing ear, and what they have to say is far more than I could ever say. It gives me an itch to ask what my parents and grandparents would have to say on similar matters. Like we might seek wisdom from the writers of the past, I think we should seek the advice from the older generations more often.
These older books, and sometimes our favorite books, are not afraid to ask the questions that need to be asked. This is why I love books that feature dystopian societies. Authors who ask tough questions and seek answers automatically draw, in my opinion, one step closer to wisdom. I’m sure you’re aware that boundaries tend to lower the older you get. That means that the older people in our lives are not afraid to ask tough or controversial questions…questions that need to be asked. This might be slightly uncomfortable at times, (like when they ask a thousand questions about your personal life) but it might also be necessary.
They are lovely in a different sort of way. I don’t mean that in a bad way. Think of the glossy hardbacks of today, or the colorful paperbacks. Modern, flashy, meant to catch the eye. Now think of leather bound books. Sturdy, classic, beautiful. How can you not get excited when you walk into a library of old leather bound classics? We are not living in the best of times, but I think we forget sometimes that older generations survived far tougher times than these. I can’t even imagine…This alone gives them a beauty that many of us will never know. It’s so different from today’s idea of beauty, and many people don’t see it. Nevertheless, it’s there.
And I do have to say, in my own case at least, there’s is nothing like the smell of my grandparents’ house. So many memories… 🙂 . It’s like taking a good whiff of an old book, or a library full of books. Although I don’t think that applies to anyone outside of my family. I really don’t think I’ll be sniffing any of my new friends at church. I thought I’d just add this one for fun.
You create lasting memories with them. You keep a piece of them in your heart, always. These memories can never be tainted. Like an old book that has a few smudges or stains on it, whose cover is ripped, and yet you keep it on your shelf. Or that one book that you remember your mother reading to you at bedtime that you search every store for. You didn’t contentiously leave a part of yourself in that book, just like you don’t walk around every day thinking that the time you spend with your grandparents, or other older people that you have in your life, is making another memory. If we had that mindset, I’m sure we would all live life differently. Every moment will someday be a memory and if you love someone (more than you love your favorite books), they will last forever…even after that book or that someone is gone (*pause here to find a tissue*).
They are universally loved and respected. Here’s what I mean by that: You might not have read a particular book, but if your friend loves it, it will be hard not to smile when they talk about it. This is especially true for old childhood books. The joy of them is universally understood and appreciated. When you hear someone talk lovingly about their grandparents, you will usually feel an instant connection to those memories.
Also, if you are in a group of people who visit the elderly that reside in nursing homes or who are at the hospital, you will have likely felt strong feelings toward them. Listening to them speak, hearing them smile and laugh, giving them a warm hug…I know from experience that it can be a very emotional, almost familiar, experience. A loving, respectful relationship with the elderly in our society is something that bonds all of us together, like our love for Dr. Seuss or Harold and the Purple Crayon.
Writing these thoughts down has left me more emotional than I expected. It makes me think about…well, a lot of things I haven’t thought about in a long time.
Thank you for taking this journey through the inner workings of my mind. I hope you didn’t get too lost. If you have any thoughts, please post them in the comment section. I’d like to hear what emotions or thoughts this post brought up for you.
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