A message from Allen:
Sept. 26, 2020
Earlier this year, I came across this statement. Perhaps you will relate to its truth, as I did: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Albert Schweitzer wrote this beautiful thought.
Born in 1875 in Germany, the son and grandson of Lutheran pastors. He studied philosophy and theology, receiving doctorate degrees in each field by age 24. Also, he became world-famous as an accomplished musician; recognized as a unique interpreter of Johann Sebastian Bach.
At age 30, despite his growing fame as a theologian and musician, he resolved to become a missionary-doctor in equatorial Africa. Returning to the University, he earned a doctorate in medicine 1913. He established a primitive hospital in Africa, interrupted by being imprisoned/interned by France in World War I because he was German. After the war, he returned to Africa. The inspiration for that sea change in his life was Jesus’ story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. He saw the impoverished African people as Lazarus, the Europeans as the disinterested Rich Man. Unlike the Rich Man, who ignored Lazarus, he devoted his life to the poor African people. That this gifted, accomplished person experienced at times inner darkness, and that only another could reignite the flame within him is insightful. Be thankful for the person who reignited the flame. Scriptures tell us repeatedly “encourage one another”. 2 Thessalonians 5:11 In Texas, we attribute the statement to John Wayne; in California, they say it was Bette Davis. But, whoever said it told the truth: “Growing old is not for Sissies”. I sympathize with those who want to be respectful, but do not know how to refer to us who are growing old. Even I do not know what I prefer being called.
I do not like being called a “young man”. “How are you, young man?” is the choice of those who are about to measure my blood pressure, take blood samples, or stick a sharp needle in my arm. I am not a young man. I have been a young man. That is when I made most mistakes of my life. I have earned every wrinkle and every gray hair. Each is a badge of experience. Do not patronize me, calling me “young man.” I do not like to be called a “senior citizen”, even if it comes with a discount. Nor am I enamored with trite euphemisms – “the golden years”. Certainly, I bristle at being called “elderly” or “old”. “Old” implies “obsolescence” or “worn out”. Maybe “Old School” is okay. I learned that phrase from my clients. It is a term of endearment, of respect.