Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: FIZZLE (06/09/16)
TITLE: Past My Prime
By Holly Westefeld
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I start the coffee, ease in to a chair at the kitchen table, and power up my tablet. Tapping the Bible app, I pick up in Proverbs 20, immensely grateful that the senior center has such a patient technology instructor, now that the arthritis in my hands makes it so challenging to turn the pages in my Bible. Sadly, in a generation or two, the flutter of turning pages will probably be a distant memory on Sunday mornings.
I smile at verse 29, "The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old." Hopefully that applies to bald heads, too. I certainly miss being at the peak of strength, dreading the drudgery of my weekly shopping trip. Not up to scrambling eggs this morning, I pop a frozen breakfast sandwich in the microwave.
I park as close as possible to the grocery store, which is pretty easy, since I choose off-peak times, and never shop on senior discount day. Perhaps I should ask my doctor about the form for a handicapped parking tag... I have grown a bit thicker skin, but can't help noticing the young woman glare at me as she waits for me to plod through the crosswalk. Settling in to the motorized cart, a recent concession to my ebbing stamina, I navigate carefully through the aisles. It seems that half of what I want is on the upper shelves. As I stare at the coffee with a sigh, I hear a familiar voice behind me.
"Can I reach something for you, Mr. Schneider?" Pastor Peters walks around to the front of the cart.
"Thank you, Pastor." I point at a can well above my head, and he places it in the basket. I am so thankful for a pastor who hasn't let a doctorate diminish his servant's heart.
"It is always my privilege to assist my flock, especially those with "a crown of splendor." Shari Thompson was just telling me what a blessing you are as Sam's prayer partner."
I swallow a lump in my throat. "It's nice to know I am of some use so far past my prime."
"You may be facing physical fizzle, sir, but you are most certainly at your spiritual pinnacle. So many parents appreciate how you invest in their teens by listening, praying, and giving wise counsel."
"I do love to declare God's marvelous deeds and power to the next generation."
As I move on, a young man comes barreling around the corner, and has the audacity to say, "Watch where you're driving that thing, old man." I just smile.
In contrast, the young lady who wheels the cart with my purchases to my car, while I take up my cane once more, exhibits no impatience keeping pace beside me. She places each bag in the car as though it is a precious treasure.
"Thank you so much!" I offer her a tip, which she waves away.
"You remind me of my grandfather." Her wistful smile is accompanied by several quick blinks as she turns to go help another customer.
I am just looping the first plastic bag on to my rigid carrying handle when a car pulls up next to mine in the driveway. I look up to see Brandon and Shannon.
"I'll take those." Brandon scoops up my bags, while I unlock the door, and Shannon follows us in with her own bundle. He sets the bags on the counter and winks at me. "These can wait. Please come sit down, Mr. Schneider."
Settled on the sofa, Shannon places her bundle in my arms.
"His name is John," Brandon announces with a grin from ear to ear. "After all, if it weren't for you encouraging us not to "solve the problem" the world's way, he wouldn't be here."
I look down at his peacefully sleeping face and curled fist, in awe that God would allow me to facilitate His marvelous deeds. No, I would not trade the strength of my youth for the height of this joy.
Proverbs 16:31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained by a righteous life.
Psalms 71:17 Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. 71:18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.
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