We buried Sara last Saturday. Sara had been part of my life since I can remember being part of life. I'd always thought of her as part of the family. She was always in my great-aunt's home. And my great-aunt lived next door to my grandmother where I lived. So Sara, I assumed, was but one of the clan.
Later I was to learn she wasn't actually blood family. She'd come to be part of my life because she was a boarder at my great-aunt's house. The nation was still suffering the consequences of the Great Depression. My aunt and uncle rented out rooms in order to help with the finances. The room rent included the use of the kitchen. As such I often saw Sara in the kitchen, and since that's where family hangs out, she was family to me.
Sara became attracted to my uncle, the brother of my aunt from whom she rented the room. Once she married him, she was family.
Sara outlived them all. She was ninety-three when she died. The last of that generation to go.
It was a good service. My cousin, Sally, an Anglician priest, and I did the service. I sat in the chancel listening to Sally as I waited my turn to speak. And then it hit me. Sara is dead. And with her death, oh my gracious, with her death my cousin Frank, Sally, and I are now the oldest survivors. Could this mean … do you suppose this could mean I'm old?
And then I thought of old Methuselah. That book I'm always reading says he lived nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and then he died. Think about that. The man lived a milleneuim and all they can tell us about him is he died. The fellow must have been a blight upon the environment. Think of all the hot dogs he consumed. Think of all the wine he drank. Think of all the air he polluted. Think of all the trash he produced. And since he lived in the times of multiple wives and there's no record of him having a job, think of all the wives who must have supported him.
It wasn't that way with Sara and the relatives of the family into which she married. They all lived only into their nineties. But they all left their mark upon this old world. Until the day they died they were a joy to be around.
All this got me thinking. I am one of the old ones in our clan now. And I'm continuing to get old at the steady, predictable, and plodding rate of one hour after another, twenty-four hours a day, every day, every year. I can't stop the course of becoming one of the ancient ones.
I've made up my mind to do it right. I'm going to grow older with grace as did those of my family I used to call old. I'm not going to be one of those that folks hate to visit. When I can't climb mountains any more, I'm going to sit and relish all the things near me I now have time to study. When that nurse brings the pill, I'm going to act as though she's dishing out ambrosia.
I'm old enough now to realize that I'm one of the old ones. Praise the Lord that I got here and, maybe, just maybe, I've got a good way to grow.