Friday, August 19, 2011

Young at Heart

--
I wish I had asked her name.

I was in a bit of a hurry, and really needed to find a parking space close to the front entrance of our Costco store so I could get in and out quickly. I spied a family of 4 and an elderly woman, each pushing their carts heading toward cars in the first bank of spaces, so I pulled into position to snag the first space available.



The elderly woman was closest to me and I watched as she moved item after item from her cart to the trunk of her car. She was small and slender, but there was nothing slight about her. She moved easily and efficiently, not even appearing to feel a strain when she picked up a box of assorted items out of the big basket. Finally everything was loaded into her car but one green box of Pale Ale she had put on the bottom of the cart. She looked around like she might like a little help with what was surely the heaviest item especially since it would need to be lifted from down so low.

With what appeared to be perfect timing, an athletic-looking, mid-40-ish guy in an expensive polo shirt, khaki shorts and mirrored sunglasses approached. She looked hopefully at him as he breezed right by, checking his watch and not bothering to notice the little lady with the big box who would have liked his help.

Before I even had turned my car off to get out to help her, the sprightly little woman gave him a mildly surprised look as though she wondered what had become of chivalry, and without a moment's hesitation or energy wasted on annoyance, she bent down and handily lifted that box and put it squarely in her car.

Just then, the family of four pulled out of their space and I pulled in. I got out and locked my car. Unable to resist the chance to talk to her, I went to ask if she'd like me to take her cart, which she was happy for me to do.

"I hope I'm as strong and capable as you are when I'm your age!" I said with an admiring smile.

I'm not sure she heard me clearly--I think she thought I asked her her age, so she said, "I'm 90."

I about fell over! I don't know how old I thought she looked, but I would NEVER have guessed 90!!

"90!!" I said.  "You're amazing! You had that box in your car so fast I couldn't even jump out to help you!"

"Oh no," she said, blushing sweetly as she waved off the compliment. She smiled at me and seemed rather pleased with herself in a quiet, humble sort of way. She got in her car and drove confidently out through the parking lot.

What a can-do attitude! What a picture of being young at heart! What an example for me!

Seeing her so fit and so able, so confident and good-natured in the way she approached her life and her age and other people, gave me such a shot of inspiration! These last few months I have dealt with several little pesky, nagging things that go along with aging, nothing awful, just irksome and and I have admittedly been frustrated by them. My "chance" (ha!) encounter in the Costco parking lot with someone who is aging so gracefully was such an encouragement to stay the course in my efforts to get healthy and in good shape. Here I am feeling all old and creaky when she must look at me like some young whippersnapper! If she can live like that at almost twice my age, surely I can get myself in a position to live like that now!! I come from a long line of long-livin' folks, and if I am blessed with anything close to their longevity, I want to do all I can to be living like that until Jesus comes or until He takes me home!!

One more thing--there would have been nothing wrong for this lady to ask someone for help. Sometimes it is absolutely the right thing to ask for help when you need it. But, coming from a different time (another time of economic challenges) when people relied on God, did for themselves, took care of their own, and looked for ways to help others less fortunate rather than looking for a handout from the government or anyone else for that matter, my little parking lot heroine showed her character in taking care of herself that day. Many people and politicians would do well to learn from her example. I have a feeling that her lifetime of hard work and doing what she has needed to do is an important factor in how healthy she is at what looks to be the wonderful age of 90 years young!!

"Gray hair is a crown of splendor;
   it is attained in the way of righteousness."


I may not know her name, but I shall not soon forget her.


How do you see the aging process and how does your faith affect your view?
What keeps you young at heart, no matter your age?
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