The View from 70

Last October, as Jack Benny might have said, I celebrated the thirty-first anniversary of my 39th birthday. In King James Scriptural terminology, I reached the Biblical "threescore and ten." To put it even more bluntly, I hit the big 7-0!

I suppose I am in the youth of my old age. Iím still young enough to have a lot to learn, yet, Iím old enough to have learned a few things. May I share a few of those lessons with you?

I have learned to believe more and more in less and less! realize that statement is an odd-ball paradox. Contrary to how it may sound, it is really an affirmation of faith, not a denial. I am more committed to some things than I have ever been. Yet I am less committed to a lot of others. 

My faith in Jesus Christ, the Word of God, the true Church, etc. is rigid. But some things I once held as the "law of the Medes and Persians" have been discarded or at least taken with a grain of salt. Such are the vain traditions and superstitions of men. If these are repeated long enough, people believe them as Gospel truth. I had rather be wholeheartedly committed to the few eternal verities than have a scatter-gun commitment to a multitude of things which ultimately arenít worth a Kentucky hill of beans!

I have learned to be myself ,which plagues some people , but brings me a measure of satisfaction. I am determined not to be conformed to the mold someone else thinks I should fit , but to do my "own thing".

Closely akin is the fact that I have learned to accept other people as they are and not necessarily as I think they should be. This doesnít mean I agree with every personís philosophy or deeds. But I have learned to be friends and fellowship with people having a widely divergent spectrum of views and personality. It would be terrible to have a whole world of people just like Tom Adams!

I think I have learned to accept my limitations. There is a distinction between a limitation and a weakness. Hopefully, we all keep working to correct weaknesses. Yet I am mature enough to know there are some things I simply cannot do or be. I cannot have some other preacherís gifts or strong points. I realize other men are vastly superior to me in many areas, whereas I may be more competent in other aspects. I have learned not to wail and whine over what I canít do well, but rather emphasize the gifts and callings God has given me.

I have learned the brevity of life. Letís face it. Our hearts, like drums, are beating a funeral dirge to the grave. If weíre going to make any contribution to this ole world, we had better do it now. Whether we die with the infirmities of age or are cut down in the vigor of life, itís a mighty short span. I hope I have learned that : "Life is too short to be little."

Tom Adams

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It's The Best Time

The feisty mountain philosopher, Jimmy Townsend says, "Anybody who can still do at sixty what he was doing at twenty wasnít doing much at twenty!"

I once told someone that the only advantage of aging is a ten percent discount at the cafeteria! Obviously, I was being facetious with that morbidly pessimistic statement. Itís true that getting older can have its drawbacks in the physical and material realm. Realistically, we discover as did Ponce de Leon, there is no "fountain of youth". If we live long enough, these bodies will eventually wear out. However, this process is not as scary as it once was.

Donít get the idea that aging is a total "downer". It has a definite "up" side and the pluses far outweigh the minuses.

One of the gifts I received this past Christmas was a personally autographed copy of former President Jimmy Carterís latest book: The Virtues of Aging. I have great admiration for Jimmy Carter. History may not rate him among the greatest presidents, but I believe most everyone will agree he was one of the most moral. Since he left office, he has immersed himself in humanitarian causes and charitable endeavors around the world.

I was especially intrigued with the subject matter of this particular book. The word "virtue" in the title seems a bit odd, but Carter explains why it was chosen. Virtue is defined as "a particularly beneficial advantage" and "an inherent quality that is admirable". It is his thesis that the virtues of aging include both the blessings that come to us as we grow older, and what we have to offer that might be beneficial to others.

Carter writes about being interviewed by Barbara Walters as he approached his seventieth birthday. She covered all the aspects of his life from the farm to submarines, from business to the governorís mansion, service in the White House, and from president to back home to Plaines, Georgia.

Then she asked, "Mr. President, you have had a number of exciting and challenging careers. What have been your best years?" After a few moments, Carter responded with absolute certainty: "Now is the best time of all."

As a senior citizen, I find great encouragement in that answer. I hope you do too, whatever your age.

Tom Adams

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