Monday, May 14, 2012
One time a half dozen or so of us were gathered in a conversation, and he told of a sermon he had heard when he was about 5 years old given by an old preacher “who was older than I am now.” My friend is in his late 80s, which would mean that a sermon given in 1929 by a near 90 year old preacher would place his date of birth around 1840 or so.
I marveled at my friend’s unbelievable wingspan. He’s telling me a story about someone he has known who was born shortly after the death of James Madison, the Father of the Constitution. Imagine the history that could be passed on with little generational interference! The history of the United States is a lot shorter than we might think, and that means pulling out unknown historical nuggets by reaching into oral histories is still very possible.
It makes me wonder how much knowledge and wisdom is locked up in those gray-headed noggins and how much we can learn from them. They were once young and vibrant, took risks, sometimes succeeded and sometimes failed, and they often know what works and what doesn’t while we youngsters are still trying to figure out what wrench to use.
It also reminds me of that powerful admonition from the ages: “You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:32).
If you see that old man sitting on the park bench, see him as he was in his 20s, full of spit and vinegar with his whole life ahead of him. And know that one day you’ll be seated on that same bench eager to share your wisdom with anyone who will listen.
Posted by Lenny Cacchio at 12:18 PM