Friday, November 06, 2009

Older People Sour-age



Pastoral issue here, Gals.
Personal experience tells us that older folks often think the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Everything is getting worse. Kids are horrible. Food doesn't taste as it did. Violence reigns...
Not all older people are sour about the future but many are. Like the ladies at the bridge table yesterday who asked,"do you know anything good?" I started naming good things like sweet parenting I observed, lovely cool weather, people being kind to each other. No matter what I offered the ladies retorted with negative words.
I took a deep breath then said, "I hear people over 40 often think the world is going to hell in a hand basket." No one smiled.
I suppose I'd be crabby about the future too if I depended on Fox news for my worldview, picked friends who were fearful and negative, read the mailers from the insurance industry about health care and looked at my stock portfolio everyday.
Yep, the world is in trouble. This is not new. Every generation sees the world as a troubled place.
Can we bring the theological idea of grace to the table?
In the midst of a confusing world, grace offers acceptance, welcome and a view of the kindness of God to each of us. Grace allows us to savor the blessings, cope with the difficulties and remember what is important.

Love from St.C.

11 comments:

Auntie Knickers said...

I see this too (and although I'm a lot over 40, I see it in some people younger than I). I try to guard against it. Sometimes it's hard, though. But you have some wise ideas about the whole thing.

Sue said...

Great post St. C.

I hear a lot of the same attitude from some elderly folk. On the other hand, our best book study group at the church is facilitated by an 80 year old gentleman and many of those who attend are of retirement age. Their discussions have been interesting and most importantly - positive! It has been a delightful breath of fresh air in the church.

You are indeed wise St. C. - a large portion of our pastoral task is to bring good news to places where it is lacking.

God_Guurrlll said...

I see it as well. Folks are longing for a time that really never was. Back in this magical time where the men were men and the women knew it. Back when everyone went to church because that was what they were supposed to do etc. Back when everyone knew their place and worked hard to conform to societal norms. Guess it's the grass looking greener on the other side. However how free were people back then?

Perhaps these folks have been knocked down so much they can't see anything but the negativeness of the world. However I do know a lot of resilient folk (many over the age of 40) who remain positive in the face of adversity. I'm trying to be one of those people.

Songbird said...

I love your words about grace, and I thank you for them. I am positive about the world, despite disappointments, but I can get a little sour about my own life, needlessly.

Presbyterian Gal said...

The older folks you speak of include my mama and her pals. I can tell you from talking to them that much of their rancor comes from feeling they were robbed. As in, after overcoming the depression, the dust bowl, scared out of their wits during WWII,Korea and Viet Nam, finally able to finish their lives in peace, never anticipating the current basket o' grief they have to carry now. I know, there are other things to focus on. And fortunately my mom does this. Probably better than I.

I find that a simple acknowledgement of and regard for their past tends to soften the conversations. Most times.

Jennifer said...

I hear these same comments, and I think you're right. There are so many diminishments in life and nay-sayers at every turn. We must encourage breathing in fresh ai.

Cheesehead said...

Sure do love you.

Rev SS said...

I agree. A look back at history would be a good reminder that the world has always been a mess. It's not what happens ... but what one does about what happens that makes the difference.

mibi52 said...

I wonder what the disappointments are that generate their anger/sadness/negativity. I wonder, too, what their parents' disappointments were, and if a conversation about them might open them up to the things that have been better for them...tiny little glimmers of gratefulness. You are such a good pastor, and I'm praying that Ida didn't leave you all too wet.

Deb said...

Geez. I'm over 40 (over 50 actually) and I don't think I've soured on life. Asking questions, sure. Actually, spouse and I were talking about our respective moms, both over 80. His is angry, depressed and fearful. Mine is optimistic but realistic, laughing but sobered. The difference? Gotta be grace at work in her life...

Great post.

1-4 Grace said...

I am exactly 40, but I see it here to so very much.
You are very wise, keep trying with the ladies. Maybe you should play Spades with the more youthful ones for fun once in a while. It helped keep me balanced.
Great post!!!!