“Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.” (Job 12:12)
Everyone desires to live a productive and happy life. Few achieve it. My dear friend Judy exemplifies it!
Tomorrow marks her 100th birthday. Yes, she moves a little slower but her mind is still sharp. She resides in a lovely assisted living facility but never misses a Sunday service if she can. With so much energy, I can’t help but think she must have been somethin’ in her prime!
Now imagine all she has seen since 1917; how the world has transposed amidst industrial growth, space flights, world wars, technical advances and changes in society which have occurred over a century.
I interviewed her recently to unearth how she accomplished what so many seek but never find; peace and contentment.
Ellie: Judy, you are one of the most gracious people I know. I never hear you complain about aches, pains or grumble as so many older people do. What’s your secret to being so youthful?
Judy, without a moment’s hesitation deadpanned, “Good genes!” (A great sense of humor is also a wonderful age-resister: Proverbs 15:13.)
E: And that’s certainly part of it. You still look and act young-at-heart. But I also know you’ve gone through challenging times. What has given you such a positive outlook on life?
J: (pausing) I guess my mother was the greatest influence in my life. When I was a teenager, she wouldn’t allow me to complain when others had so little compared to us. She always told me to count my blessings.
E: This was during the Great Depression?
J: Yes, we weren’t rich but we weren’t poor either. My mother was always sharing what we had with those less fortunate than us. Her generosity was a good example to follow.
“I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread.” (Psalm 37:25)
E: So what was the most important piece of advice your mother ever gave you?
J: She taught me that if you don’t give – you won’t receive. Help others as best you can. Give from the heart but be genuine about it.
E: What’s your secret to aging gracefully? You certainly don’t act 100. I know they feed you well here.
J: In here, one eats what they put in front of you. (smiling) Well . . . there’s always an activity to occupy our time if we want and I’m happy being here near friends. My mother told me there is always someone who is better off or has less than me so I try to live my best life. Until I see Jesus, this is the life I’m given and I am content.
E: Is that another of your many secrets? So many who live in Assisted Living Facilities miss their previous home and lifestyle, but I’ve never heard you complain.
J: I think I’ve never minded change. I’ve lived a long time and have seen this world change a great deal. Look at how technology has grown. I’m able to watch TV, talk on my cell phone and have friends drive me to church.
E: With that being said, what words of wisdom would you give today’s generation?
J: I’m sorry so many seem to have lost the Godly values my generation had and I’d like to see more kindness. Young people used to stand aside to allow older people to enter a building. Few do today.
E: You don’t seem to live in the past as so many do.
J: I remember my past but I don’t live in it.
Judy epitomizes what being young-at-heart is all about. To be truly content one must be grateful for God’s blessings in one’s life, remain mentally and physically active while being surrounded by loving, supportive friends. Those are the keys to a Joyous Life.
She has truly exemplified Philippians 4:11, “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.”