Category Archives: AH-HA Moments

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

AH-HA Moments – August 2017

Anniversaries are special AH-HA Moments! Whether we are celebrating marriage, church anniversaries, or any other special occasion, it is a splendid time to sing and shout out to the Lord, “Thanks for these memories of grace and goodness!”

Below is a very special hymn, especially commissioned for the celebration of the 125th anniversary of Lutheran Life Communities. It was written by Jeff Burkart and David Christian, musicians extraordinaire,  who captured the vision statement as well as the past, present, and future direction of this ministry of “empowering vibrant, grace-filled living across all generations.”

This is a special gift to you and your congregation as you continue to “celebrate God’s gift of aging” in all ways possible. Instead of seeing aging as a burden to endure, this hymn emphasizes the fact that aging is a blessing to celebrate, as individuals, families, congregations and other communities gather together to worship and praise the Lord of all generations! Feel free to print copies and use this resource as you wish, to engAGE and encourAGE people of all ages!

Watch for more resources coming from Lutheran Life Communities during the next year as we partner with congregations to emphasize and engage people of all ages in the gift of aging! Check out their website at www.LutheranLifeCommunities.org.  

Happy Singing! Happy sharing your faith through this special gift, to you! And keep living out these AH=HA Moments, in the Lord!

Hymn- Where the Shepherds Sheep are Tended

Rich Bimler

 

AH-HA Moments – July 2017

CELEBRATING A  “REFORM-AGING “!

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.  Grand celebrations will be happening throughout the world as we remember and rejoice in Martin Luther’s historic mission and ministry. As many have already said, “He really ‘nailed’ it!”

Perhaps it is also time to celebrate a REFORM-AGING movement! What a grand occasion to empower and encourAGE people of all ages to see and celebrate “God’s gift of aging!”

Martin Luther was only 33 years old when he launched the Reformation and just 62 years old when he died, quite young in today’s world. With 10,000 people turning 65 in our country each day, now is a grand time to focus on reforming our attitudes and perceptions of aging. As Dr. Leith Anderson wrote recently, “Are we caught up in an American cultural idiosyncrasy where we prioritize the young and minimize the old?” Our society has never had to deal with so many older adults inhabiting this country. There are more of us and more of us are living longer and longer and longer! Personally, I am convinced that the Lord loves older people – because He keeps making more of us!

Perhaps you and I can begin, or continue, this new aging reformation by being more concise and aggressive in sharing and living out our own attitude and mindset towards aging. How are we modeling the gift of aging? Are we excited about our own aging process, in spite of our new aches and limitations? Are we proud to announce our “real” age to those who ask? Are we modeling for others how to savor the gift of aging and to spend our days celebrating and serving our joy and confidence in the Lord? Are we witnessing to the fact that we have been created for praise, whatever age we may be?

A “Reform-Aging” movement needs to begin with each of us as individuals. Perhaps we can do less complaining about the young and forget about yearning for the “good old days”. Sure, rejoice in those” good old days” but focus more on these “good new days” which the Lord continues to provide for us. Perhaps we can speak out more when we hear people young and old sharing negative attitudes about aging and even denying the aging of their own bodies. I have no need or interest in being 21 anymore. I don’t think I could survive that age anymore anyway!

So, join us as we celebrate a “Reform-Aging” Movement. This does not take anything away from Luther’s Reformation celebration, but instead adds to the celebration by affirming the Grace, Hope, and Peace that Christ the Lord continues to give to people of all ages. Yes, the Word of the Lord endures forever – to every generation!

Let the Party continue…..now that’s what I call an AH-HA Moment!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – June 2017

HOW OLD ARE YOU?

Why is it that some people do not like to be asked, “How old are you?”  Let me suggest that one of the primary reasons is that our culture and society has ingrained in us that aging is something to deny rather than something to celebrate as a gift from the Lord!

It has been going on for a long time. Remember Frank Sinatra crooning, “Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you, when you’re young at heart”? Notice the Hallmark greeting cards that continue to degrade and make fun of anyone between 40-70 – with black crepe paper, black balloons, “over the hill” language, and a general sense of negativism and decay? There is an over-arching mindset running rampant in today’s society which proclaims, “It’s bad to be old!”  “Old” is connected with the image of “mold” rather than of “gold”. We talk about “senior moments” but usually forget about the “junior moments” we experienced in high school!  Ironic, isn’t it, that young children want to grow older and many older adults want to be younger!

But fear not, older people of God, it is about time that we speak up with shouts of “We are never too old – and it’s never too late to celebrate!” Ann Lamont states that “we contain all the ages we have ever been.” Ashton Applewhite, in her fascinating book, “This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism”, claims that ageism is the last “social sanctioned “prejudice facing our culture today.

We need not feel guilty about this phenomenon.  After all, our society has never had to deal with 10,000 people turning 65 every day which is currently happening. It is mind-boggling to realize that in the history of the world, two-thirds of the people who have ever lived to be 65 or older are alive today! (That’s right – read this sentence again and let it settle into your mind!)

So why not just “claim our age” and thank the Lord daily for another day to serve and celebrate Him? The great thing about getting older is that we do not lose all of the other ages we’ve already been! We learn from them. “Age fullness” is the sum of all of our experiences and what we’ve gained from them. 

Living and aging cannot be separated. Aging is not a disease. It is the process of living each day in the grace, mercy, and love of the Lord. Aging means living – and living means aging.

This is why I enjoy talking about the fact that “Aging is the only way to live!”. Attributing decline to aging rather than to illness perpetuates the negative stereotype of older people as frail and debilitated. An anti-aging mindset is really nothing more than an anti-living mindset. Aging is not a disease but rather the natural process of continuing to live life to the fullest, knowing that the Lord continues to love and care for us as we continue to serve and celebrate in all ways possible.

So, aging people of God, let’s continue to shout out to others, young and old, “We’re old, we’re bold! Don’t get over it, but get used to it – and get on with it”!

Let’s start more discussions about the aging process, with our peers and with those younger than us. Let us “Age with Pride” rather than just trying to remember the “good old days”. There are many “good new days” coming also – including today! We need to “Age out Loud” by telling others that aging is a gift and not a burden. “Age” is real indeed, but it is not a fixed characteristic – we are always younger and older.  As Ashton Applewhite states so well, “Ageism is a prejudice against our own future selves.”

As we age, it seems as though it gets easier to focus on what truly matters. As you and I continue to proudly proclaim aging as a gift, perhaps others too will unite with us to change the negative mindset of aging into seeing it as a positive journey, with bumps and bruises for sure, but instead of us focusing on the Problems of aging we can help each other to focus on the Promise of aging, in the Lord!

So, let me ask you, “How old are you?” I am 76 ¾, and proud of it! I encourage you to speak boldly and bravely about your age as well, even using fractions to be precisely correct, and rejoicing each day in the gift of life, in the Lord!

Join me in being an O.A.T. – an Older Adult in Training!

A Japanese saying says it well, “The setting sun is no less beautiful than the rising sun.”

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – May 2017

BREAKING NEWS!  NEW SOCIAL MEDIA TECHNIQUE DEVELOPED!

Yes, it is true! And you read it here first!  What an AH-HA Moment breakthrough!

A new product is being unveiled this week throughout the country that will revolutionize the world of communications. No more need for an I-phone, I-pad, texting, tweeting, googling, nor even a Smart phone. This very inexpensive but highly valued new “gadget” is called “talking to each other”!  AH-HA for sure!

Well, perhaps I am over-stating a bit my frustration and concern about the current trend in how we communicate with each other. And it is not just the younger folks. It is people of all ages. Check out the latest statistics, from the Pew Foundation:  

53% of adults over 65 use the internet or e-mail;

34% of internet users over 65 use social networking sites such as Facebook and 18% do on a typical day;

69% of adults over 65 own a mobile phone;

56% of adults over 76 own a cell phone of some kind.

And on and on!

The point is not that these new communication tools are bad and should be discarded; the problem is rather that our society seems to be relying too heavily on these gadgets. Have you ever tried to have a real conversation with a grandchild who is immersed in her Smart phone as she texts away with someone in the other room? Have you almost been run over on a sidewalk as another pedestrian moves into your space, looking downward attempting to respond to a recent beep from his Know-it-all phone?

In some ways we are more connected than ever before in history. In other ways we seem to be spiraling into epidemic levels of loneliness. Joshua Banner, in the Cresset magazine, puts it this way: “Mobile technology promises us the ability to be everywhere and seemingly to be in control of everything. In truth, these devices cause us to be nowhere and in control of very little”. Stated another way, we are becoming masters of “the elsewhere self”.

But, rejoice, Facebook lovers, there is good news! It is called “talking to each other”! Why not begin today and actually take the time to converse verbally with someone close to you?  Go visit your neighbor, and use words! Actually talk to the person in front of you in the Publix line. Greet the mailman with a cheerful, “How are you?” Even if we older adults use more four-letter words, great – as long as they are words like What or When or Oops!

I do not know about you, but I see the Lord best in other people. But how will I ever know if they might possibly see a spark of hope and joy and love in me if I never get out of the car or the house or from behind the computer to let them see for themselves?

Sure, as Martha Graham says, “misery can be a communicable disease”, but it does not have to be! Share your ups and downs by talking to each other!

Join me in helping to re-invent the Art of Talking! No instructions needed! Open mouth, focus on a person, and start ….talking! Do not worry about the results. The Lord will enable and empower you and me to be in ministry-range of others as we rub shoulders and share words of love and joy and peace with those people who He has lovingly placed around us.

Altogether now …..1,2,3 ….Talk! Wow, what a product. What an AH-HA Moment to replicate daily. Let us pray for an epidemic!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – April 2017

AH-HA Moments happen all around us every day! The key is to be intentional about identifying them as ways that the Lord continues to bring His grace and forgiveness to us. Practice the Resurrection joy by seeing people, events, colors, experiences, and even words and phrases as “God sightings”. An AH-HA mindset helps us to know that “He is, and He is Here – the Signs are all around us!”

Here are 15 Tantalizing, Ticklish, Treats To Tee up for a Terrific Time, in Tutorial Terms. It is even permissible to say or whisper “Ah-Ha!” after you read each of these morsels:

  1. Never accept your current mood as permanent!
  2. It is not who you know, it is who you YES!
  3. Learn how to say “no” to some things in order to be able to say “yes” to other things.
  4. We don’t “gotta”, we “get to”.
  5. Going through Hell? Keep going!
  6. We evaluate ourselves on our intentions but are evaluated by others on our behavior.
  7. It all works out in the end. If it has not worked out yet, then it’s not the end. (Romans 8:28 – paraphrase)
  8. We live “in” the Gospel by living “out” the Gospel.
  9. Remember TGIF – Twitter, Google, Internet, Facebook – or, Thank God I’m Forgiven!
  10. It is not about you and it is not about me – it is about Him!
  11. It is not, “I don’t have the time”; it is more like, “I do not take the time”! (Remember, anything is in walking distance, if you have the time!)
  12. Sharing the Gospel is not our Job – it is our Joy!
  13. Hope has to do with the presence of God, not the absence of struggle.
  14. “Jesus is coming soon – look busy!” ( Clever quote – bad theology)
  15. Until further notice – celebrate everything!

Be on the lookout for AH-HA words and phrases you hear in the coming days. Write them down, tell your friends, keep a journal, live them out, in the AH-HA Lord!

Rich Bimler

AH-HA Moments – March 2017

Yes, I really did have an AH-HA Moment in a dream the other night! No kidding! The other strange part about it is that I always try to remember my dreams so I can write them down in the morning – but by morning, I do not remember why I tossed and turned all night!

But this dream was different. It focused on the fact that the young people who I was privileged to serve and celebrate with way back at St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Houston, Texas, in the 1960’s , are the same age now as the people who I am privileged to serve and celebrate with now , here in 2017!  Those teens of the 1960’s are now the older adults of today. They have changed much – and so have I – or have we?

In some ways, young people and older adults have much in common. For example:

  1. Young people are often seen as being “too young” to be involved in significant leadership roles and ministries. Older adults are often seen as being “too old” to be involved.
  2. Young people are often stereotyped as being immature, inexperienced, and not “having-it-together”. Older adults are often seen as being over-mature, out-of-date, and maybe “having it together” but not sure where they “put it” after it was together.
  3. Ministries with young people are often “deficit-based”; that is, focusing on what is wrong with them. Older adults too are often treated with a “deficit-based” mindset and seen as being dependent, broken, and needing to be cared for.

On the other hand, my dream also depicted many people in their 60’s still trying to be “young again”. Older adults are fed advertisements and products to help make them feel younger, smell younger, and to look younger. When we hear an older adult say something like, “ I can STILL run 5 miles a day”, it just might be that they are trying to re-live the “good old days” and not realistically dealing with the “good new days”. Some older adults still see “youth” as the best days of their lives, the “Oh to be young again” syndrome. They also continue to deny that they are getting older. Just listen to some of the 60 plus folks not being willing to say how old they are, and even check out the negative stereotypes of aging that continue to appear on the Hallmark Cards shelves.

So where is this dream taking me? Only to say that it is about time that we “wake up” and begin to affirm that “Aging is the only way to Live!”.  People young and old need to affirm each other, rub ministry shoulders with each other, and learn and celebrate life together, in the Lord. Sure, it is good that peers can gather together for fun and fellowship, as long as we do not isolate them from other age groups in our worship, studies, mission trips, and other ministry events and activities. I am all for “children’s messages” in worship, but , if we are going to do them, perhaps we also need to have “older adult messages” as well, when all the 80 years olds come to the front of the chancel for a special affirming word! (Well, maybe not!)

Instead of looking at young people and older people with “deficit-based” eyes, why not develop ways to  minister to and with them through an “asset-based” focus?

Ageism is still very much alive and rampant in our society, perhaps even more than young people. Older adults often even stereotype themselves as old, purposeless, unneeded, and of little or no value. Our own stereotypes of ourselves, rather we are  young or old, affect our behaviors and how we perceive others younger and older than ourselves.

So how does this dream end? I guess it is up to each of us! I would propose, as starters, that we:

  1. Acknowledge our prejudices to ourselves and others.
  2. Spend more time together listening to people younger and older than ourselves. Improve generational relationships.
  3. Do not infantilize older people with such words as “cute”, or “sweet”.
  4. See all people, first as people loved by the Lord with worth and gifts to share, instead of as “young” or “old”.
  5. Keep our sense of humor and learn to laugh at ourselves! I personally enjoy telling stories and quips about older people, because I am one, and I’ve been there! I would hope younger people can tell their own stories about themselves and their peers as well.
  6. Don’t take the process of aging so seriously. I remember a friend of mine who would often say, “I plan to live forever, and, so far so good!”
  7. Us older people need to work harder on helping younger people realize that wisdom is not knowing everything but rather it is knowing that we do not know everything!
  8. Let us all work at retiring the word, “Retire”. It is not scriptural nor is it helpful in the process of aging.
  9. Help young and old alike see that aging is not a disease to endure but rather a blessing to celebrate!
  10. Let us learn from each other, young and old, laugh and cry together, work and play together, and continue to encourage the “young to see visions and the old to dream dreams” – together, in the Lord!

May all of your dreams and my dreams be affirmations of celebrating God’s gift of aging as we all joyfully age, in the Lord!

Happy dreaming, happy aging, and keep looking for those AH-HA Moments, in the Lord!

Rich Bimler