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photo: Fotolia_50563855

photo: Fotolia_50563855

see Part I     Part II of the series first.

Managing our grief and fear

Each of us manages our grief in different ways at different times. Sometimes it is covered by laughter, but more often shows in tears, sadness and frequently outright anger.  Don’t be surprised by it.

It may help you to respond more appropriately to behavior that you don’t understand from a parent or older friend.  Just sayin’.  Instead of reacting, you might ask some questions of them about how they are doing or if there are problems they are struggling with.

Parents often don’t like to share serious problems with their kids.  It carries over from when the kids were chidren.  For the most part, we know you are adults, competent adults unless you have proven otherwise.  But you are busy.  A part of us doesn’t want to over burden you.  A part of us would like some help at times.  It doesn’t have to be logical.  Some days it can be downright crazy!  Not all the time of course.

There is a sadness, grief and fear

But it is there, at times whispering in our ears, at others looming in the darkness as we try to sleep at night and at others, sitting in the pit of our stomachs as we think about the future.  There is a sadness as we look to the future.  We have passed our prime.  We are now on the downward slope.  In public, people often look through us (like we are invisible,) not at us.  We don’t get used to it really.

What about heaven and eternity?

Yes, there is heaven, but in order to get there, we will have to say, “good-bye” to everyone and everything we know.  We’ve already said so many “Good-byes.”  Do we really want to say more?  We have dealt with a lot of change in our lives.  After awhile, we get tired of it.

Our faith is often weak along with our bodies.  As we get older, our faith is tested.  Do we really believe the truth of the gospel?  Is heaven going to be there?  Are the things we have beieved really true?

Deep down, we believe in GOD’s faithfulness and the truth of His promises, but there are bad days when we need to get our thoughts under control or they will go wild and spiral downward fast!

How will we die?  Will it be long and dragged out or quick and peaceful?

Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about this, but to some degree or other, these thoughts cross our minds.  Bear with us.  Most of us aren’t crazy.  Most of us are like you.  We have crazy moments.  Our fears can get irrational. That’s what fear is…irrational!  We trust most of the time.  But we have days when we are weak too…just like you.

I don’t want this to sound like a downer.  I am just trying to acquaint you with some of the feelings that are out there.  Of course there is a huge range.  Some are in the middle of dealing with them, others are still in denial.  Most of us are in the middle range.  All you need to do is toss in some illness, chronic or acute, and it exacerbates this kind of thinking!

Today is not the day to placate you

I could fill another page of Bible verses to share with you so you will feel better about us personally and many of us as a group.  I’m not going to do that today.  I want you to get a feel for what it can feel like as an older adult on a bad day.  Not because I want you to be miserable.  I don’t.  I would like you to feel some empathy for the people in the pews or apartments or home next to you who are struggling.

For the most part, they will keep their feelings quiet so you will want to be around them…but others will be complaining all the time and you won’t want to be near them at all.  They may even be in your family.  Think about what it might feel like to have your life filled with so many “good-byes”, to be watching your spouse failing and/or to be failing yourself?  It isn’t fun.

Wouldn’t you feel the need for some compassion, care, a listening ear instead of bossiness or people who know-it-all when they haven’t been there?

I have been that uncaring person to older adults over the years.  I have been the know-it-all.  I am so sorry I was that way.  I learned over time that it wasn’t helpful, but I know even more how much appreciated it is when someone reaches out in friendship or genuine kindness.  When they come to listen more and give solutions less.

I have given you a glimpse of the dark side in the life of an older person, even a christian one.

Ok, enough of the gloom and to some degree, reality…

the darker side of it.

I will now take my thoughts captive.

GOD is faithful.

He provides for our needs, no matter what they are.

His Word is true.

His grace is sufficient.

It is enough for today.