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Age is just a number

Dr. David L. Chancey's picture

Last week, I presided over the funeral of a 96-year-old lady. She was a remarkable woman who graduated from hospice twice. The first time she willed herself out, she told her daughters, “I’m not going to die, I’m going home.” And she did.

Shortly after that, she walked in Southwest Christian Hospice’s 5K and raised the second-highest amount of money. Two days before falling and breaking some ribs, she had been on her treadmill and exercise bike.

When I visited her in the hospital, I asked, “Don’t you want to make it to 100? You’re so close.”

She instantly said, “No, I’m ready to go.” And she did on April 14.

I was thinking about all the changes a 96-year-old must have seen and experienced in her lifetime.

I’m nowhere near 96, but some days I feel pretty old. We were watching Argo with my daughter and son-in-law. The movie is about the rescue of American embassy employees who eluded capture when Iranians stormed the embassy and held our people hostage during Jimmy Carter’s presidency.

CIA people were gathered around a television set watching the national newscast, and my son-in-law asked, “Did they have color TV back then?” Back then was 1979-80, and yes, we had color TV, but the TV was a big, heavy box. Now they are flatscreens.

How old are you? Joel Smith suggests an “age barometer” that helps us tell how old we are by tabulating how many changes we’ve lived through. Give yourself one point for each item you remember:

1. Blackjack chewing gum

2. Wax, coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water

3. Candy cigarettes

4. Drink machines that dispensed from the top

5. Coffee shops with tableside jukeboxes

6. Home milk delivery in glass bottles with cardboard stoppers

7. Party lines

8. Newsreels before the main movie

9.  P.F. Flyers

10. Butch wax

11.  Telephone numbers with a word prefix (Olive 2-6933)

12. Peashooters

13. Howdy Doody

14. 45 RPM records

15. S & H Greenstamps

16. Hi-Fi record players

17. Metal ice trays with levers

18. Mimeograph paper

19. Blue flashbulbs

20. Officer Don

21. Roller Skate Keys

22. Cork Popguns

23. Drive-ins

24. Studebakers

25. The Atlanta Crackers

How many did you remember?  Of 0-5, you’re still young. If 6-10, you’re getting older. If 11-15, don’t tell your age. If 16-25, you’re older than dirt!

Wherever you fell, remember that age is just a number, simply a state of mind. I have a goal to run the Atlanta Peachtree Road Race when I’m 90.

No matter your age, we can choose to stay active, and we’re still young enough to learn and grow and enrich our life. It’s never too late to set goals and to strive toward greater productivity. In his book “Success, Motivation and the Scriptures,” William Cook includes a series of questions to help us look to the future. Key questions include:

• Do all of my goals fit within the written, stated purpose of my life?

• Have I been honest enough to set goals in every area of my life (spiritual, recreational, professional, social, education, family and financial areas), believing that God is interested in the total me?

• Can my goals glorify God?

• Did I ask God for wisdom and guidance?

• Would Jesus Christ be willing to be Lord of my life and preside over the reaching of these goals?

And of course, at whatever stage we find ourselves, we should “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

[Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church in Fayetteville.  The church family gathers at 352 McDonough Road, just past the department of drivers’ services building, and invites you to join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m. Visit them on the web at]

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