THE OLD PERCOLATOR
Recently, we spent a week in Missouri to prepare my mother-in-law’s belongings for auction. It was a daunting task as Michael and I worked tirelessly every day, from early morning into late at night. My job was to take everything that was brought to me and clean, categorize, and organize the items into flat boxes.
During that process, my husband showed me an old, electric percolator that he was about to trash. I understood his reasoning. Most people want a quick cup of hot coffee at the touch of a button. Thus, the Keurig has become a fixture in many homes. But there was something about that dirty coffee pot that intrigued me. I could see the stainless trying to shine through its dull exterior. As I gently cleaned and polished it, the beauty of the stainless-steel began to gleam brightly, and when I finished, it looked like I had just purchased it. I filled it with water, plugged it in, and it worked perfectly.
I see myself like that old percolator. I might be viewed as being elderly, but I still have much to offer, despite the fact that I am far beyond 65. Unfortunately, the moniker, “elderly,” denotes someone who is feeble and unable to care for themselves. Fortunately, today’s push for fitness has helped seniors and the "elderly” stay fit, vibrant, and active. Despite this, many under the age of 40 have a disturbing perception of those over 40.
I recently viewed a video of a study done with young men and women who were between the ages of 19 and 29. They were asked what they considered old and how they viewed the elderly. All of them said that “old” was between 40 and 50, and beyond 50 was “elderly.” They were then asked to visually show how an old person might cross the street, exercise, perform household duties, etc. It was both laughable and sad to see how these young people portrayed the aging.
Next, the young participants were assigned an “elderly” person. The pairs were to teach each other an activity that neither had done before. The young partners were shocked to see that those in their 60’s and 70’s could keep us with them. At the conclusion of the testing, the youth stated that they had readjusted their thinking about what is "old" and "elderly."
Today’s youth have access to technology that did not exist for many seniors. Therefore, many of the Centennials born since 1996; the Millennials, born between 1977-1995; and Generation X, born between 1965-1976, view themselves as smarter, wiser, and savvier. Sadly, they see little value in seeking the wisdom and advice of senior citizens, who if asked, could offer perspectives, otherwise not considered.
Many who were born in the sixties, seventies, and eighties are unaware of the fact that until 1962, when the Supreme Court banned praying and reading the Bible in school, those who are considered senior citizens or elderly, lived in a world that was all about patriotism, God, and flag. With hand proudly held over heart, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited each morning in school, which was then followed by the teacher reading a Bible verse. Awards were given only to those who earned them. They studied hard, had chores, and had manners. They respected and honored their parents, and if they didn’t, there was swift, corporal punishment. Most families attended church and divorce was rare. They felt safe in their homes, so doors were rarely locked. They felt safe on the streets and played hide-and-seek late at night. Parents set curfews that were honored. When not in school, they were enjoying outdoor activities, regardless of the weather. Parents and children ate together and played together. There were no smartphones to distract both parents and children from having meaningful conversations. They respected their elders, those in authority, and those in government, because their leaders had integrity and were not self-serving.
Interestingly, mass shootings began in the early sixties shortly after prayer was removed from schools. Sadly, many underestimate the life-changing power of prayer.
To show how far America has departed from its Judeo-Christian heritage, the majority party in the House of Representatives has deleted God from as many congressional proceedings as possible, including the swearing in of witnesses, as evidenced on February 28, 2019, when a representative who led the swearing-in oath for the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Rights & Liberties, purposefully omitted, "so help me God." When another representative challenged that omission, the representative said, "I don’t think it is necessary and I don’t want to exert my will over other people." (Viewed on C-SPAN).
God gives warning, “To whom shall I speak and give warning that they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed, and they cannot listen. Behold, the Word of the LORD has become a reproach to them; they have no delight in it” (Jeremiah 6:10). “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18). “But blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (Psalm 33:12).
America’s younger generations need to understand that the freedoms they enjoy are being threatened. If this nation is to get back on track, there needs to be a pursuit of the Judeo-Christian values that built “one nation under God.” It would behoove the younger generations to heed the words of the older generations who fought to protect and defend the United States and its interests against communism, socialism, and tyranny. Sadly, like the coffee pot wrongly assessed to be past its usefulness, senior citizens are considered “a drain on society” and not an asset.
The elderly carry within them a wealth of knowledge, wisdom, and experience that should be embraced by generations that follow. That is why God’s Word instructs the young to submit themselves to their elders (I Peter 5:5). Most importantly, His Word holds an immense reservoir of truths that guide and instruct us in navigating this world and life.
If today’s youth want a better world, they need to reflect on America’s history—one not redacted from textbooks—and seek knowledge from those who helped build this nation, who were a part of its history, and who understand the importance of living life according to God’s Word.
Like that old percolator that had lost its luster, the elderly’s once youthful shine is now dulled with wrinkles and sagging skin. Yet inside, they are still percolating and praying for the America they were raised to love, defend, and support under the righteous banner of God and its unparalleled Constitution.
PRAYER: FATHER, this great nation once honored and sought You for direction. Its rich history and heritage have been preserved and recorded for all generations, lest they forget that You bless those who observe Your testimonies and seek You with all their heart (Psalm 119:2). I pray You would touch the hearts of all generations to appreciate the wisdom, knowledge, and experiences of their elders and the rich legacies they leave behind. Give our young people eyes to see and hearts to understand that their future depends on whether or not they seek wisdom and guidance through Your Word and prayer. For You say, “I love those who love Me, and those who seek me diligently will find Me” (Proverbs 8:17). In Jesus’ name, amen.