Sunday, February 1, 2009

Grumpy Old People

Grace and greetings.

As we are getting ready for the Super Bowl to begin, I am sharing my meditation from this evening's service. I pray that it will open your heart and spirit.

Grumpy Old Men
Mark 1.21-28

This past week, I received an email from an old friend; it was one of those emails that I am supposed to send on to others to share. Instead, I want to share it tonight with you. The email was called, “Grumpy Old Men,” and I am going to paraphrase the email, including the following poem. The story starts out with an unnamed or even unknown elderly man has passed on, and a nurse is going through the pockets of his pants so they could identify him. But all she found was a poem…and I am shortening the poem for space and time…

To the one who cares for me,
You wash me without looking,
You feed me without seeing,
You clean up after me without comment,
But do you see me…

I am the boy of ten waiting for my father
To come home from work so I can tell him of my day.

I am a young man of 18, nervous to ask someone out on a date.

I am the man, standing before my bride
On our special day of dreams and expectations.

I am the man, 30 years of age,
Trying to care for my family as
My own children grow up before my eyes.

I am the man, 50 year old,
Worried about saving for retirement,
Watching my children start out on their own,
Leaving my wife and I alone

I am the man at 60
Children once again are at my feet
Toys spread around to trip over.

I am older now,
Tired and alone
My wife has died,
My children have families and lives of their own

What happened to all my dreams?
What happened to my energy?
My body has failed me.
My mind can no longer do what I command.

I sit here before you,
Old before my time,
Open your eyes
Look into mine
And see me…

Of course the original poem is longer and greater detail, but that is the main theme that I want to share. The email goes on to remind us that all too soon, we too will be that grumpy old man.

We all know grumpy old men AND women, we see them today without the dreams and experiences that has shaped them as the people they are today. Some of the grumpy people we just write off, and say they are that, but there is a reason for the person they are today.

But what does all this have to do with this evening’s scripture reading of Mark? Sometimes we look at grumpy old people as if they too had a demon in them, making them angry and bitter all the time. Sometimes we just write it off as that they are old, therefore they are grumpy. We all wrestle with our demons at times, whether it is constant pain; depression; worry; addictions to drugs, alcohol or gambling. But just as Jesus was able to see into the heart of the person who stood up, and challenged Jesus, then healed him; so too we are able to look into the eyes of the elderly, and see their hopes and dreams; their joys and pains; and OUR hearts as well as their hearts are healed, as we open it up to others. As we allow the healing of our hearts, we are able to look into the eyes of the elderly, and see them for who they are as well.

Just as in the parable of the Good Samaritan, we no longer have to treat one another as the priest did to the one left on the side of the road by walking on the other side of the road. The elder too will be healed, as we continue to treat and love one another as Christ continues to show and command, and not walk by us as well. With the healing of our hearts and eyes, we will see each other in different light; we will know each other with grace and love, to live as the true body of Christ.

May the healing power of Christ begin with each and every one of us, so we can spread the gift of healing and love. Alleluia and Amen.

Peace and blessings.

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