Category Archives: AH-HA Moments

AH-HA Moments – June 2018

The Gerontology Center on the campus of Concordia University-Chicago IS an AH-HA Moment!

This became quite evident last month as 14 folks from around the country came together for a 2 day consultation around the concept of “developing a certification track to train faith-based people to serve as ‘Aging Specialists’ in their congregations and/or communities”. It was an AH-HA Moment because of the exciting possibilities discussed, the wealth of wisdom and experiences shared, and the excitement that grew as these faith-filled folks shared and celebrated the gift of aging and the possibilities for the Church to become much more intentional about serving and equipping  this often forgotten and misunderstood segment of God’s saints and servants!

Thanks to Jim Miller, Lydia Manning, and John Holton for making it happen. Thanks to those who financially supported it. Thanks to the participants who shared their time and energies to dream and to ask “What if?” and “Why not?”

The AH-HA’s continued to flow easily with excitement and spiritual energy to develop a “one-of-a-kind” training ministry that would be tremendously significant in not only training and equipping older adults but also would be positioned to aggressively and faithfully change the mind-set of much of our church and society from viewing aging as a burden to bear instead of a blessing to celebrate!

Sure, there is so much more to do before this is a reality, but this Think Tank will hopefully stir up and launch other discussions and dreams and plans to emerge within both church and society. There are currently numerous courses, seminars, classes, and degrees that one can pursue in the area of gerontology services and support for and with older adults, but we have not yet found any that are intentionally faith-based and focused for congregational and other faith-based ministries.

Dream with your AH-HA glasses on for a moment and picture what could happen in your congregation if there is an “Aging Specialist” (professional church worker or member lay person) on the staff, who has been certified and called to be responsible for older adult ministries in order to serve and to equip people of all ages to know what it means to celebrate God’s gift of aging, – in the home, congregation, and community. Consider how this would dramatically emphasize the importance and necessity of people of all ages seeing more clearly that life is about putting people of all ages within ministry range of each other! Dream about the thrilling possibilities of worship, education, and human care ministries being experienced together by the 70 year olds and the 17 year olds! Watch and marvel how moms, grandparents and preschoolers would be rubbing ministry shoulders with each other as they witness and celebrate and serve together! 

The reality is  that it is not that these generational experiences are not happening currently in congregations; it is that we have not equipped nor been intentional enough to make them more meaningful, more frequent,  and more of a priority as God’s people!

This “movement” will alter the mindset of how you and I look at and perceive the aging process. Ageism continues to run rampant in our church and society. Ageism is really “prejudice against our future selves!” We, the Church, need a wake-up call, a ‘climate change” on how we live , serve, and perceive older adults.  Just today, I saw a Facebook posting from a “friend” that quipped, “The best part of getting older is ….nothing!” Now that’s the kind of mindset that needs to be changed and that needs to be challenged as we continue to celebrate God’s GIFT of aging!

I’d welcome your comments, responses, suggestions, and ideas. Perhaps we could do other think tanks throughout the country to experience  similar discussions that this group of 14 experienced last month at the Gerontology Center at Concordia University-Chicago!

Thanks for “listening” and for continuing to be the AH-HA people we all are, because of the Lord of ALL ages!

 

Rich Bimler

 

 

 

AH-HA Moments – May 2018

Yes, AH-HA Moments are all around us. All we have to do is be intentional about seeing and seeking them. It is like teaching your mind to look for “God Sightings” – “He is and He is here, the signs are all around us”, to quote Sister Corita Kent.

The following “Older Adult Biblical Exercises” was written by our friend, Pastor Jerry Nichols, Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Thanks, Jerry, for sharing these AH-HA moments that we can use individually, in our families, and wherever God’s people gather. I have personally shared them with older adults and at intergenerational events – and they are very well received.

OLDER ADULT BIBLICAL EXERCISES – 2018

Enjoy them – celebrate your faith with them – share them with others ….and get some exercise along the way!

May you have an AH-HA month, in the Lord!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – April 2018

WHO CAN YOU ENCOURAGE TODAY?

I always liked the word, ENCOURAGE because it means to “give support, confidence, or hope” to someone. It means to speak and act “from the heart”. It means to have and to show “enthusiasm” to and with others. And notice the last three letters of the word – encourAGE! There must be a lesson there someplace!  The Lord has placed people of all ages around us so that we can encourAGE and be encourAGED by people younger and older than we are!

Remember the line from the golden oldie song, “Home, Home on the Range”, which goes, “where the deer and the antelope play, where seldom is heard a discouraging word….”? I remember a cartoon that shows a deer and an antelope talking and one says to the other, “I think I just heard a discouraging word!”

One of the major issues in today’s culture is that there are way too many discouraging words flying around ….in homes, in churches, in organizations, in politics, through twitter, Facebook, and ….it goes on and on and on. Top leaders in government and society continue to “Demean the Decent”. How much more clearly does the Lord need to encourage us than proclaiming in Micah 6:8 – “….What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”  When are we going to finally catch on that even within the Church, we act more like DUH-ciples than Disciples?

But rejoice, people of God! There is hope! There are people of God, young and old, continuing to be encourAGERS, in the Lord! There is a growing number of young people listening and asking older people for their support, encouragement, and advice. There is a growing number of older adults serving as mentors and friends of teenagers. The numbers are growing of older people and younger people actually learning to like and appreciate one another! There is a growing number of congregations bringing children, youth, and adults all back together through one worship experience for all ages , rather than segregating them through Children’s’ Church, Senior Saints Sessions, and Youth-Only worship opportunities.

One exciting specific example of these kinds of encourAGEing  experiences  was held last month at Concordia University-Chicago, as the new Kreft Student Success Center was dedicated. This was followed by an upbeat extravaganza dinner and program to highlight the life and ministries of Karl and Shirley Kreft, super encourAGERS , indeed! Videos of the many ministries where the Krefts have touched the lives of students, parents, staff, and communities, were shown and celebrated. Presidents and other leaders were present from most of the institutions throughout the world where the Krefts have been encourAGERS through word and deed. The crowd was an intergenerational crowd as well, with students, staff, family, and friends joining together to celebrate their life together, in the Lord!

My point here is not that we need to have big extravaganzas in order to encourAGE and affirm people, although that sure is a fun way to do so! How about watching and planning and being involved in other ways of supporting, enabling, and encourAGING people, simply by:

  1. Sending notes and saying thanks to former educators and pastors who have made a positive impact in your life?
  2. Remembering to invite a “retired/repositioned” friend for coffee and to thank him or her for what they have meant to you.
  3. How about us older people being more intentional about being the kind of person to younger people that we needed to have around us when we were “growing up”?
  4. How about actually talking more with those who are younger than us and older than us. Why not visit someone older than us, just to listen to stories of the past. I think we’d be surprised at how much we would learn together.
  5. What if we older people would “ask for help” more, from those younger than us? An amazing thing happened in Chicago this winter when some older adults were not able to handle the snow shoveling necessary to clear their driveways – and younger people , when they sensed this “call for help”, came to the rescue by developing a “Snow Shoveling “ brigade to respond accordingly!

Blessings as, together, we continue to encourage one another in love. Perhaps it is time for us to be more like the deer and the antelope! Watch and listen for those  AH-HA Moments around you…..in the Lord!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – March 2018

As we get ready for the biggest AH-HA Moment, EASTER, let us remind each other that the Lord’s AH-HA Moments do not only come to us through events, activities, or thoughts but also through the conversations, ideas, and dialogues that we are blessed to have with those around us. Here is a sampling of some “AH-HA Moments” that have come to me recently through the words and wisdom of others:

  1. “The new frontier is Longevity! Longevity is getting longer!”
  1. “Sitting is the new smoking! Get up and move that body!”
  1. “The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided leaders.”
  1. “If you’re not angry at something you are either a stone or too sick to be angry. Be angry, but don’t be bitter. Bitter is like a cancer. It eats you up. So use your anger – write it- paint it – dance it – vote it. Never stop talking about it.”
  1. “I look at my face in the mirror, and I like being old. It also proves that the Lord really does have a sense of humor!”
  1. “Always acknowledge your faults. This will throw those in authority off their guard and it will also give you an opportunity to commit more.”
  1. “Take more time LISTENING to people rather than TALKING to people. It is amazing how much more we will learn. It is hard to hear anything new just listening to ourselves! The quieter we become, the more we can hear.”
  1. “As we age, it is good to focus on Memory, Relationships, Gratitude, Acceptance, and Diminishment.”
  1. “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.”
  1. “When you love what you have, you have everything you need.”

And now it’s your turn to write down those AH-HA Messages that you hear from people around you. Make a list. Add to it. Hang it on the Frig. Tell others about your AH-HA Moments, each day!

See you at the Cross and the Empty Tomb …the best AH-HA Moment of them all!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – February 2018

                                      AH-HA MOMENTS – WITH THE YOUNGSTERS!

We older adults need to spend more time with the children and youth around us! They need us and we need them. Talk about AH-HA Moments!

And while we are at it ourselves, how can we enable other peers to do the same thing, and learn from them as well? I think of Carol and Dave Ebeling, Indiana folks, who have been doing their “Grandparent Camp” for hundreds of years (or so it might seem!) with their grandkids. I  remember our neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Hillside, Illinois, who would take my brother and me to ball games and other events. I think of Ken Black, trainer-of-mentors, who regularly goes to high school sports events just to “be there” and watch the youth from his church play ball.  I remember Ralph Carrigan, Houston, Tx., who would treat me to lunch once a month, just to ask me how I was doing and listen to my ideas and thoughts. And he even treated!

Current studies show that the more young children spend time with older adults, the more positive they become about the elderly. The more they see and sense older adults as “real” people, the less scared they become of growing older themselves. You and I can help prevent ageism just by sharing our own hours and days with …..younger people! 

Intergenerational friendships need to become a priority in our families, churches, and communities. This is easier said than done, however. I meet very few people who are “against” an intergenerational emphases, but it seems that the term has become so generic and “programmed”, that it has lost its oomph. How can we help to develop intergenerational friendships on more of a one-on-one basis?

There continues to be constant discussions about how the Church can appeal more to the millennials around us. Good question. Tom Couser does a great job of keeping us focused on this generation through his regular newsletter. Keep it up, Tom!  This may sound too simplistic, but perhaps one small way of connecting better with this age group and to see them at worship and at work, is to simply show up where they are, instead of insisting that they come to us.

Let’s start a movement named something like, “Help your Kids Make older Friends!” It not only will be helpful to the youngsters around us, but it sure will be of help to us older adults as well! It’s a win-win for all generations!

How can you and I best use the gifts that the Lord has given us? We do have so much to give in terms of experiences, ideas, mistakes made, and sins forgiven. Perhaps one major way is to share our time and days by making it a priority to connect with younger people, at church, at home, at a sports event, and even at a place called St. Arbucks! Elizabeth Lindsey once said, “I believe when an elder dies, a library is burned. Vast sums of wisdom and knowledge are lost. Throughout the world, libraries are ablaze with scant attention.” Let’s share our faith experiences with others!

A closing story: Grandma recently had knee replacement surgery which meant as she was recuperating, she needed a cane to help guide her as she walked. She and her granddaughter  went shopping for a cane. Grams picked out a sturdy black cane. After all, a black cane is easier to “hide” and will not be noticed as much. Sarah thought otherwise. “Let’s buy that red and white striped one over there, Grams. Let people know that you are alive and well and ready to play”!

 This is what intergenerational relationships are all about, as we celebrate and serve with the younger and the older. And, by the way, they named the cane, “Candy”!

May your intergenerational AH-HA Moments continue, and grow!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – January 2018

Past, Present, and Future

Spend some time during these early days of 2018 reminiscing on the AH-HA Moments you have had in 2017 …and get ready for many more AH-HA Moments to come!

Here are some of my AH-HA reflections as I continue to celebrate God’s gift of aging:

  1. The growing number of books being published regarding the whole area of aging. One new one to mention is “”This is getting old: Zen thoughts on Aging with Humor and Dignity”, by Susan Moon. A quote to tease you: “A senior moment is a stop sign on the road of life….Stay calm, let the engine idle, and enjoy the scenery. I say, Senior moment, wonderful moment, to remind the people around me of the wisdom that is to be found in these little coffee breaks of the brain.”
  2. The on-going and creative older adult ministries being developed by ALOA, the Center for Gerontology – Concordia University-Chicago, the Next Avenue website from PBS stations that inspire the 50+ generation to live meaningful, vibrant, lives” (nextavenue.org )
  3. People like Pastor Walt Schoedel who has been churning out the newsletter, “Engaging the Aging” for lo these many years. Thanks, Walt, we will miss your wit, wisdom, and winsomeness, as this resource will no longer be produced. Walt, you are a real Winner !
  4. The United Methodist National Church office, through Pastor Will Randolph, who continues to develop excellent models and resources for older adult ministries.
  5. The many congregations who are becoming marvelous models of how “to do” older adult ministries, not only through programs and resources but also by changing the mindset and climate so that the people of God see the aging process as a blessing to celebrate rather than a burden to bear!

To name only a few: Trinity Lutheran Church, Mission, Kansas – Tom Perry, older adult staff person; Trinity Lutheran Church, Bloomington, Il – Mary Bloebaum, Family Life Ministry; and Jerry Reinertson, Faith Community Lutheran Church, Las Vegas, NV.  More and more Christian congregations are finally taking seriously the possibilities, gifts, and presence of older adults who are ready and will to serve and celebrate their faith!

  1. Older Adult Ministries are not only growing and thriving in the U.S. but also throughout the world. For example , in Bethlehem, Palestine, the Ajyal (older adults) program is flourishing as Christmas Lutheran Church, Bethlehem, provides opportunities for service, volunteering, community development, and other activities for the older adult population. A laundry has been started to provide wages for people while at the same time giving older adults meaningful ways to serve others.
  2. The increasing number of “mentoring” groups that are popping up all over the country, many of them housed in the local “St. Arbucks”. What a joy to experience and see the olders gathering together with the youngers for meaningful conversations and to develop stronger relationships.
  3. More and more people are taking the celebrating of God’s gift of aging more seriously. Look around you and become involved yourself at the congregation, family, and community levels. And if those kinds of conversations aren’t happening around you, this just might be the perfect time for you to start the dialogues flowing!
  4. There is a growing sense that older adult ministry is at its best when people of all ages are able to grow, experience, learn, and share together. And let me then add that he worship service is the best place for this to happen….where God’s people of all ages gather around Word and Sacrament and celebrate together god’s gift of aging for all people! What a novel  New Testament idea!
  5. And finally, I thank the Lord as He continues to gather around me people of all ages who love, forgive, listen, encourage, nudge, console, support, and care for this 77 1/3 year old person, me, as I celebrate each day as a gift to celebrate and a gift to serve with others!

May this day, and this year, continue to be AH-HA days for all of us, in the Lord of the younger and the Lord of the older as well!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – December 2017

DON’T GET OVER IT – GET ON WITH IT!

There is a cultural shift happening, slowly but surely. More and more people of all ages are catching the movement and discussing more seriously the reality of aging. Notice the growing number of articles, books, conferences, and general conversations that are focusing on the fact that the aging dynamic is not being portrayed so much as a dangerous “tsunami” coming at us but rather older people are being seen as a natural “reservoir” , full of talent, experiences, and wisdom! As a matter of fact, older adults are the only “natural resource” in the world than is growing rather than diminishing! And that’s great news!

So, people of God, regardless of age, what are we going to do about it? How about using the phrase, “Don’t get over it – Get on with it!”?  Get on with living the life the Lord is giving us, as His gift to us. Get on with celebrating life and serving others, regardless of your age. Look at people younger than you as gifts to mentor and encourage. Look at people older than you as gifts to listen to and learn from. As someone once said (probably Martin Luther), “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream”.

Those of us who continue to depict aging as a “disease” are really insulting our own future self! The new frontier ahead of us is “longevity”! So, again, let’s raise the banner that says, “Don’t  get over it – Get on with it!” Ageism (i.e., seeing older people as of less value, infirmed, wrinkling away, etc.) stems from the perception that old people are irrelevant. Ageists, as they age themselves, become the people they once abhorred. Sad, but true. However, there still is a way to change our perception about aging and one of the initial ways is to begin talking to and listening to people younger and older than ourselves.

Granddaughter Sarah, student at Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, shared a delightful experience about one of her Spanish classes as they discussed the story of Rip Van Winkle. Students were asked to describe their perceptions of older adults. Sarah made a list of comments and shared it with me. Most of the students used words and phrases like: slow, grouchy, old-fashioned, crippled, out-of-it, hard-of-hearing, and anti. Wow, can’t you just tell that these young people are eagerly looking forward to their future! Sarah went on to say that she offered some positive terms to the list , such as experienced, good sense of humor, wisdom, listens well, and fun, but still found herself in the minority! Hooray for Sarah ! She’s still in our Will!

I look forward to continuing to challenge myself and those around me to live out this motto –“Don’t get over it – Get on with it!” Jeff Greenberg, in a recent article in the New Yorker, “Why Ageism Never Gets Old”, suggests three ways of dealing with aging:

  1. Have the older live among and with the younger. (Sounds like “family” to me!)
  2. Bolster self-esteem throughout the culture to diminish the terror of aging. (Sounds doable to me!)
  3. Calmly accept our inevitable death. (Sounds theological to me!)

I am reminded of another quote heard recently. “You only live once. And if you do it right –once is enough!”  The joy we have as forgiven people of God is to realize through faith that even though we may have messed things up in past years, that we may not have treated our grandparents like we should have, or that we still might be confused on what aging is all about, we still begin each new day as forgiven people of God, in Christ Jesus!

I look forward to joining you as together we “Don’t get over it” but rather we continue to “Get on with it!” as we celebrate God’s gift of aging!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – November 2017

                                          “CLIMATE CHANGE” IS AN AH-HA MOMENT!

It is time for a “climate change” in our churches and communities! The term “climate change” is defined as a “change in global or regional climate patterns, attributed directly or indirectly to human activity, altering the composition of the global atmosphere.”

People of God, young and old, we are facing a major issue of “climate change” in today’s society, and in this article we are not talking about weather patterns or what we need to add to or take out of our atmosphere. Instead we are talking about a change in “climate” of how we depict, relate, and minister with and to older adults.  Our culture continues to be in denial about the process and blessings of aging. We continue to see “old” as negative and “young” as positive. We continue to minister with young people through an “asset-based” approach and do ministry with older adults in a “deficit-based” manner. We affirm the positive in young people by training, equipping and teaching as we should, yet, at the same time, we focus more on older adults through their deficiencies, needs, and waning physical and mental abilities.

Look at the numbers again: 10,000 people in the U.S. turn 65 today. We are all getting older. More of us are getting older. More of us are getting older, longer.  That is why I love to point out that the Lord must really like older people – because He sure is making more of us!

Our “climate” towards aging must change! Now! No need to blame anyone or any system or any of our leaders on this fact. The need is for people of all ages to change the way we treat and talk and act and look at older adults! Starting today! Starting with….myself!

The dream is to see aging as a blessing to celebrate rather than a burden to bear; to no longer see aging as a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured, but rather as a powerful, rational, life-long process that connects all of us in this community of faith, the Church!

We need to disrupt the negative climate of aging, starting with the very young. No need to diminish the need for children and youth ministries but rather to emphasize the positive in all people, regardless of age. This is sad to say but my sense is that a major part of this problem in changing the “climate” and perception of aging lives in the minds of us older people ourselves. We have been “trained” by our culture to see aging as a negative, to “retire” and not “do” as much as we once did; to get out of the way and let the “younger people” lead; to assume that we have lost our value and purpose in life because of physical and mental limitations that come our way.  An 80 year old said recently, “I’m having some vision trouble today. I can’t see myself doing anything”! This is the type of “climate” that needs to be changed, in people of all ages!

I love the Japanese saying, “The setting sun is no less beautiful than the rising sun!” People of all ages are loved, forgiven, and valued as God’s people, in Christ Jesus!

This is an AH-HA Moment for all of us. Now is the time to listen to ourselves and how we talk to, treat, and describe older adults. Now is the time to spend more time with those younger than us as well as older. Now is the time for older adults to “Live Out Loud!” by telling others about their hopes and joys as well as their aches and pains! Now is the time to stop denying the fact that aging is a gift and begin to celebrate the fact that aging is a blessing, for people of all ages. Remember, aging is the only way to live!

Let’s get serious about “Climate Change” as we challenge one another to change the way we look at each other and change the climate of our relationships, starting  now! In this 500th Reformation year, let’s continue to “Reform-Aging”, one person at a time, beginning with ourselves!

Celebrate this AH-HA Moment right now, as we encourAGE each other to change the climate of aging that surrounds us!

Dr. Rich Bimler

Ambassador of Health, Hope, and Aging – AH-HA!

www.richandcharlieresources.com

 

 

AH-HA Moments – October 2017

We are honored to share with you this special AH-HA Moment experience, through the eyes of Pastor Tim Fangmeier, good friend and colleague. Tim is involved in prison ministry and each year asks his network of friends to pray for people in prison at a specific time and day as the Kairos 25 team visits and relates with them.

Here are some quotes on Tim’s experience on this year’s ministry event:

I wanted to share with you a brief report of the Kairos weekend I just attended and to say a word of thanks to all of you who supported us with Prayer, Cookies and Financial Gifts!

The Kairos went extremely well!  I think all of the 41 participants were influenced toward faith in Jesus Christ.  Many had a change of heart and mind as they began to really see the message of Grace and the depth of God’s Forgiveness in Jesus Christ.  We had ample team members and a strong team outside.  The participants come from a wide and varied background.  Many are of different faiths than Christianity and with different sentences.  Many who were with us have revolved in and out of prison much of their adult life.  We treat them all as friends in Christ and fellow pilgrims on a journey of faith.

And then, there’s the participants… those wonderful souls that the Lord has called us to “love on” for Him. All different – all just as important to Him as we are. 

  • There’s the man who works in the furniture plant who enjoys music, but can’t sing a note.
  • The Native American who can’t believe there’s “Christians” who actually love without beating him down with their Bible. 
  • There’s the drug abuser whose family has finally had enough, and has broken off all communication. 
  • There’s the 70 year old that has spent 22 years in solitary confinement due to outbursts of anger that resulted in devastating acts of violence. 
  • And, to quote a brother from the inside; “God loves every damn one of them”!

 I am so thankful for God’s grace.  I’d like to thank you all for the way you’ve joined us in being the hands and feet of Jesus.

When asked in what spiritual condition they arrived at Kairos, the groups responded:  

  • “In denial…spiritually dry…broken…curious…unsure…lost…skeptical… ashamed…without hope… “

But here this weekend, we found:    

  • “Love…support…a new family… brotherhood… faith… forgiveness… joy… humility…real people-who actually care!
  • The earthmoving power of forgiveness… LOVE”

We’re leaving today with:

  • “A new perspective…love…hope…family…fellowship…
  • A realization that there are good people out there who can look at us like human beings… LOVE”

Memorable quotes:

  • “You know, we’re all different… Different races, different religions… Different backgrounds… This weekend, the one thing that we’ve all had in common is the love shared here…”
  • “I’ve seen all these guys who went to Kairos, they came back different… They came back changed… I wanted some of that…”
  • “Never in my life did I ever think I’d hug this many grown men!”
  • “Last night (Saturday night), I let go of some things that I’ve held on to for a very long time…”
  • “I realize that I’ve built up these walls around myself… ‘stones’ like hate,  fear, and pride, have kept me from being a disciple…”
  • “I’ve actually seen people that I’ve hated, praying for each other and worshipping together…”
  • “I wanted to come to Kairos.  I didn’t know what to expect…  I just wasn’t expecting this much love… Or feeling like family…”
  • “I can’t tell you how it makes me feel, to be part of a family who loves me for WHO I am… Not ‘what’ (grabs sleeve of his shirt) I am… “
  • “I’ve had so many burdens that I’ve carried on me for years… Those burdens are falling away… I’m starting to have hope…”

“And now, these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

For more information, contact at:

Pastor Tim Fangmeier, Davidson, NC

tim@giftedpeople.org

Thanks, Tim and Rae, for being AH-HA people to so many who often get stuck on the UH-OH’s of life, including us!

May this month be filled with AH-HA Moments for all of us, as we joyfully serve and celebrate our AH-HA Lord!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – September 2017

THANK HEAVEN, I’M 77….!

What an “AH-HA Moment” to have another birthday! Birthdays remind us that the Lord still has plans for us as He empowers us to serve and celebrate aging as a blessing instead of a burden.

Here is a quick list of things I’ve learned (and am still learning!) about aging:

  1. The Lord sure loves older people because He is making so many more of us!
  2. With aging comes wisdom, as long as we define “wisdom” as “knowing that we do not know everything”!
  3. It is not who we “know” in life that counts, but it is who we “yes” in life that makes all the difference.
  4. Just be your self – everyone else is already taken!
  5. As we age, we are able to feel more comfortable with ourselves in just Being who we are rather than in Doing who we are.
  6. Our church and culture still do not understand that aging is something to celebrate rather than something to endure.
  7. Hallmark cards continue to be a major deterrent to people of all ages to grasp that aging is a gift. Notice the fact that birthday cards for people from 40-75 years old are generally negative, ageist, cruel, and portray older people as boring, crotchety, helpless, and incompetent.
  8. However, let’s not blame this negativism on Hallmark cards alone. Many of us older adults have “bought” into this attitude because we have grown up with these generalizations being stated and lived out among us. Notice the ads that encourage older people to “think young”, “look young”, and be “wrinkle-free”. I do not want to be 17 years old again. I just want to be the best 77 year old that I can be!
  9. In saying all of this, let me strongly point out the urgency for us 77 year old types to continue to laugh at ourselves in order not to take ourselves toooo seriously! Let us laugh and enjoy each age. If anyone can “make fun’ of older people, it is older people themselves, because there is so much for us to laugh at about ourselves. Why make fun of the younger people when we can laugh all we want at ourselves and our peers!
  10. On this my 77th year, going into my 78th, join with me in a new campaign we are launching. It is affectionately called “Be a G.O.A.T.”, which stands for “Grand Old Adult in Training”! Applications are now being accepted!
  11. And remember the old saying, “If you’ve met one 77 year old …..you’ve met one 77 year old”! There is only one of each of us …thank the Lord!

Rich Bimler