Shades of Age

Shades of Age

By Dr. Robert R. Kopp

Counting time in the womb, which I always do in the belief that ensoulment occurs at if not before conception (cf. Psalm 139, Jeremiah 1), I’ve passed the half-century mark.

And yet I was slightly unnerved when an application for AARP came in the mail for me the other day.

It wasn’t as bad as giving five dollars to the guy at the driving range this past summer, getting a dollar back, asking why, and being told, “Senior discount.”

My wife bought a large print Bible for me a few weeks ago.

I’m starting to figure it out.

I’m aging.

It happens.

Though I still bob and weave when Meatloaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” is on the radio and think Jimi Hendrix could have done a lot for church music, I know I’m getting old because I’m disgusted by those Bob Dole ads for Pepsi and, uh, well, you know. I don’t understand guys who wear earrings, women who get tattoos, or anybody who relaxes to rap music.

Of course, I remember when I was young and older folks like me couldn’t relate to my generation’s search for meaning.

Isn’t that one of the great things about aging?

The way things never were become the standard for how they should be.

I knew I was aging when I picked up USA Today on 23 November 2001 and got really ticked when syndicated columnist Julianne Malveaux opined, “I have always been an ambivalent American, one of those folks who doesn’t pledge allegiance to the flag, wear red, white and blue on my lapel…” Then she went on to say how much she appreciated the First Amendment, not living in a bizzare country like Afghanistan, and pigging out on our prosperity.

Though I know she’s just, one of those left-or-right-leaning-doesn’t-really-matter-cause-their-style-with-occasional-substance-is-the-same intellectual snobs who is so above us all that she feels compelled to rub noses into our nation’s flaws. She does so even amid the continuing sufferings generated by 9/11 as women and men in uniform risk their lives for her creature comforts and the right to insult whom and what have graced so much upon her, I’m old enough to know America isn’t as bad as she suggests or as pure as some pretend.

Though I can’t think of one other country as diverse, inclusive, tolerant and benevolent as the USA, I’m old enough to know we’re not perfect with lots of room for improvement; but intellectually honest enough to acknowledge we’re a lot better than most.

Maybe that’s another part of aging.

Older folks don’t see everything so clearly.

They see shades.

Older folks such as I learn that living with the truth about ourselves helps living with the truth about others.

By the time that’s discerned, the need for a Savior also sets in.

Sombody’s got to lift the shades of age.

Dr. Robert Kopp is the pastor of Bethany Presbyterian Church, Loves Park.

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