BREAKING NEWS ………A recent study from Germany confirms that drinking beer and coffee regularly increases one’s life span! When this astounding news was shared at our Saturday morning confab, it naturally got the attention of the baristas and regular customers at St. Arbucks! I also know that it will make my brother very happy as well!
Now that we have your attention, we want to share some conversations, ideas, quotes, and general observations we are experiencing at our local St. Arbucks. We really can learn more by listening to people than by simply talking at one another!
One of our coffee-loving friends shared some scripture with us which he claims provides one way for older adults to deal with younger people. We are sure that he does not understand the text appropriately, but it was cause for some further discussion, as well as laughter. He read 2 Kings 2:23-25: “From there Eisha went up to Bethel. As he was walking along the road, some youths came out of the town and jeered at him. “Go on up, you bald head”, they said….He turned around, looked at them and called down a curse on them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths…..”
Now we are certainly not promoting this kind of “relationship building” between the younger and the older, and we have encouraged our friend to do a study of this text to see it in the appropriate context. It did, however, raise the issue of how the younger and the older are relating with each other, at home, in church, and in the community. Perhaps we older ones do wish at times that the younger ones would “disappear”, or “keep in their place”, or “not be so noisy”. Perhaps we at times feel discouraged when we older folks are perceived by the younger as being a “problem”, “out-of-step”, or just old “fuddy-duddies”. I still bristle when someone demeans an older adult through a joke that pokes fun at an older person or when younger people assume that we older ones are all set it our ways and are just “living in the past”.
So, what are we going to do about it? I say, first, let’s do continue to drink our beer and coffee (in moderation, of course!) and be pro-active in spending time with and listening to those young people around us. Why not invite one or two of them to join you at a St. Arbucks (yes, forget about the beer this time!)? Why not seek out a teenager after worship next week and actually get to know him or her a little better by asking how they are doing? Why not spend some time with a grandchild or young neighbor to get their take on their world? Perhaps if we were more intentional about connecting with young people, we wouldn’t have to think about finding some bears in the woods to solve the issue, and we might even find out that these young people will enrich and enhance our lives so much that we will not even have to think about drinking beer or even coffee the rest of our lives!
I am so blessed when I listen to my grandkids. Sarah, college student, sent me a text recently and shared her perception that our society loves “aged cheese” and “aged wine” but has difficulty accepting “aged” people? She asked why is it that many aging and vintage items in our world are seen as positive and valuable while aging people are often seen as “problems”! Thanks, Sarah, for that insight! Let’s get together and talk more about it!
So, let’s continue to drink our beer and sip our coffee, but even more importantly, let’s continue to keep in “ministry range” of younger people, as we continue to celebrate God’s gift of aging!
And let’s also make sure we understand the context and meaning of 2 Kings 2:23-25!