Although our culture is already rushing towards Christmas, I’m sticking with the delightful prospect of celebrating Thanksgiving first—reflecting on the thoughts and actions of being thankful at this stage in life. Consider what follows here as the thankful thoughts of an older man. Perhaps someone not unlike you…?
To set these ideas in context, you should know that I’m very happy to be an old guy. I am satisfied with my state in life, my age and my aging. Like so many senior citizens, I would probably not want to be 20 or 30 years old again. This is a good time to be alive. Gratitude is a good way to live. As the day of thanks approaches, I’m grateful that:
• Grace comes at me every day, so much that I can’t always handle it.
• My family extends in every direction, proving that I’m not alone, that I’m loved.
• The Holy Spirit keeps surprising me, inspiring my part of God’s mission.
• Our adult children are doing well, living productive lives.
• I’m not in charge of most things—it’s too much work to think or act that way.
• I’m surrounded by a small and precious cohort of friends who take me as I am.
• I am lacking hair at the top of my head—my baldness strips away pretense and invites humility.
• I’m forgiven over and over, even though I never deserve it.
• God’s rescue comes my way often.
• My thoughts and self-image remain younger than my body.
• I have good doctors who value and insist on my self-care.
• Life’s commitments and priorities have slowed down to what’s manageable.
• I still have lots of words inside of me—they come together every so often to form thoughts worthy of sharing.
• Evil, lying and ego-maniacal leaders won’t win in the long run.
• Most of my aches and pains go away when I exercise.
• Autumn disburses coziness into my bones every day.
• Clothes, blankets, hugs and heaters keep me warm.
• The years behind me stretch out as good; the years ahead promise the same.
• Jesus showed the way; Jesus is the way.
• Right now, contentment isn’t that difficult for me.
• There’s more work to do in order to fulfill my lifework. God isn’t finished with me yet.
• More in my life makes sense than what doesn’t make sense.
• I’m getting closer to being wise. (“Too soon we grow old; too late we grow smart.”)
Don’t mistake the bulleted list above to be the sum total of my reasons for thanks. What I’ve written are examples of a much larger catalog of blessings that lives inside me every day. Many of the reasons for my gratitude have come as I’ve appreciated what it means to be an older adult. Certainly I was appreciative of God’s gifts when I was younger, but at this stage in life I carry within me the realization that all these blessings are adding up. That the inventory of boons far exceeds the number of banes. That I’ve been given far more than I can ever give back. That I owe others far more than they owe me. That God is good beyond mere words.
Perhaps your list is different than mine—longer/shorter or more in-depth. If you’re an older person, you have your own reasons and directions for gratitude at this stage in life. Being old invites thanks. And so this Thanksgiving you and I can be happy with our days, lives that we now inhabit as older adults.
Thanks be to God!
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