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Growing Old…..

 It
was a Wednesday morning, and four children surrounded me, looking at
my hands as I pinched the skin. I looked down at my hands and saw
old lady hands and remembered long ago sitting with Grosmom Siemens
looking at her work-worn hands. She let me lightly pinch the skin on
the back of her hand and watch the skin keep its shape, like a tiny
hill. I tried to pinch my hand’s skin, but it quickly fell back to
it former shape. I long wondered about why my skin didn’t hold like
hers. Now it does. It is an ‘earned right’ to be able to make a
pinch-hill on the back of my hand.

Emilie
Brunn Siemens was my first introduction to what is considered ‘old
age’. Her life began in June 18, 1876 in Norka, Saratov area of
Volga Russia. When Emilie was sixteen years old, she came to this
country leaving her parents (1882). She worked for her sister in
United States for 5 years to pay for her passage ticket. She spoke
low German/Dutch (Plautt Deitch). We loved to talk in our own
languages and were able to comprehend the meanings. Grosmom was
small woman, with big brown eyes, her black hair was combed into a
bun on the back of her head. There was a growth on her neck that
reflected the beating of her heart.
I
loved Grosmom Siemens. Now I wish I had asked her questions to learn
what life was like for her. What were her dreams? Did she have any
desires? Was she scared when she traveled alone? The fact that she
came to this country alone on a big ship when she was sixteen
intrigued me. When I was sixteen, I wondered if I could have done
the same thing. She left her parents when she came. Did she miss
them and long to go back to Russia? Although she worked for her
sister, she was treated as a servant, as she did outside and inside
chores to earn her passage.
Later
Emilie married Jacob V Siemens, an auctioneer and a traveling
evangelist. How did they meet? How did she feel about marriage? I
knew that Grosmom Siemens loved her husband, for she cared for him
when he became paralyzed the last year of his life. They raised four
sons and one daughter. The four sons were irrepressible, mischievous
boys who kept their Mom busy. Another daughter, Annie, died January
29, 1913, from meningitis. Did Grosmom grieve a long time? Grossmom
died at the age of 67, August 7, 1943. She had not reached an old
age – as we consider being old now.
My
picture of old age includes a quietness, a folding of the hands and a
sweetness. In Rogers, our church family included a row of ladies who
appeared to be a row of roses – a veritable rose garden. As the
row grows smaller, I miss my rose-ladies. When I see a gray-headed
man or woman, I see a history – of living and stories to tell.
Growing
old sneaks up on us. Did we expect for life to go on and on? Yes.
We do not take to change kindly – especially the growing old
change. As time goes on we make allowances for physical strength,
taking more naps. We make allowances for not remembering or for
misplacing things. We allow ourselves to save a mountain of things
that define us because ‘we might use it someday’. We realize that
youthful ‘tomorrow-outlook’ begins to change to counting the days,
and not squandering time. The important things of life change. No
longer is the latest gadget, fashion or mode of transportation
important. What is important? Each of us have to answer that
question for ourselves.
Growing
old is like cramming for a test scheduled for tomorrow. There is no
escape. Is growing old depressing? No. Although that is a question
each of us face and we must answer. There is no escape. It is a
journey, an adventure. Although it is a path well-trodden through
the ages, we see it as new when we travel that same path. We study
our way, and realize, at the slower pace, we can recognize blessings
we overlooked before.
As
birthday candles grow in number, we pile on experiences and thoughts.
Greying hair doesn’t always mean wisdom, but it places prioritzing
in its place. (A lady once told me that her hair color was whatever
bottle she chose at the time – does that mean she will never become
wise? This relates to a tree falling in the forest….)
Growing
old is a blessed state. A state of peace when faith and trust become
a living/breathing part of life. Growing old is appreciating,
encouraging and loving children, grandchildren and great
grandchildren from an eternal perspective. Growing old is a bridge
between youth and forever. Growing old is recognizing the power of
prayer as never before. Growing old is a peace when ‘doing
something’ is not as important as praying for it. Growing old is
God’s way of preparing us for an eternity with Him – giving us
aches and pains – that only He can erase in His time.
Growing
old is living with expectation of seeing God at work.
Growing
old is the surprise of one more year that God has granted.
Growing
old is not looking back but looking ahead to what will be.
Growing
old is being a place of rest and comfort for others.
Growing
old is smelling a rose and recognizing the scent of forever.
Growing
old is smiling through tears caused by physical pain.
Growing
old is listening to those around you with love.
Growing
old is giving what you are with open-ness.
Growing
old is walking in hand in hand with our Savior.
Growing
old is looking up at the stars and knowing Who we belong to.
Growing
old is never losing the child-like sense of wonder.
Growing
old is sitting by the side of life with an open door to those who
pass by.
(Written
by someone who is growing old….)
  • I
    was young and now I am
    old,
    yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children
    begging bread. Psalm 37:25

  • The
    glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of
    the 
    old.
    Proverbs 20:29
  • Do
    not cast me away when I am 
    old;
    do not forsake me when my strength is gone. Psalm 71:9

  • The
    righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a
    cedar of Lebanon;

    planted
    in the house of the LORD,

    they
    will flourish in the courts of our God.

    They
    will still bear fruit in old age,

    they
    will stay fresh and green,

    proclaiming,
    “The LORD is upright;

    he
    is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.” Psalm 92:12-15
  • Even
    to your
    old
    age
    and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made
    you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
    Isaiah 46:4

Happy 89th Birthday to my Aunt Irene!

Comments? eacombs@att.net

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