Tag Archive: old people

old man dies
i came across that proverb this morning and it blew me away.

i remember hanging out with my uncle John Fee [my mom’s british brother] a few years ago when they came to visit us in South Africa and we had met up a bunch of times in life, although i was generally of the seen-and-not-heard age and so we didn’t engage in much meaningful conversation… and then this day he was in the lounge and i popped in to be good mannered and we ended up having a conversation of which some part at least related to intentional communities [we were just about to leave for the Simple Way i imagine] and how they had been going on for longer than just the latest fad book that had come out and inspired me, and proceeded to tell me a little bit about some of the history of intentional community over a much longer period of time than i had presumed.

i remember walking away from the interaction thinking something along the lines of, ‘Man, i have missed out.’ what i pity i never got to really know that man. and since then i have sort of made up for it by befriending pretty much all 80 of his children, children’s children and children’s children’s hamsters [or was it a guinea pig?] on Facebook and keeping them entertained with my very silly Dangerous Things You Can Least Expect videos

the point being, that i realised, although maybe not in so many words, that when Uncle John dies [and hopefully not anytime soon] a whole library will have burnt to the ground.


and how sad will it be if more people have not at the very least paged through and been entertained and taught and inspired by some of the books before that happens.

this feels like something that should be taught to young people at a young age [ask old people their stories!] and feels like it may be something that happened one time with the focus always being on ‘hey, let’s be nice to the poor old people and let them speak to us’ and with a lesser understanding or grasping of the wealth of experience and life and learning that they might have which might inspire and encourage and teach us so much.

i thought a lot of the same things when reading through the autobiography my dad wrote a year or so ago, or every now and then when he whips out another classic unexpected story from his life.

and i am hoping that this all makes me more intentional in terms of taking time to invite people to share their stories with me, in particular, older people who are likely to have more stories… i think we tend to underestimate the power of stories shared.

in terms of the race conversations we have been starting on this blog, i am pretty sure that story-telling is going to play a huge part in heading us in the direction of reconciliation and resitution…

in terms of the Taboo Topics that i try to find stories about on my blog, it is through stories of journeys people have walked that others are encouraged and strengthened and also hopefully inspired to share their own stories with at least someone, if not with us all…

who is the older person in your life with a story you really need to hear? and when are you going to do about it?

old man ii

i don’t have an iPhone slash any phone right now and so don’t have the ability to Instagram [which is something i’m not too sad about cos much like predictive text and apparently mac computers until you get them you think they are silly] but there were a couple of snapshots from the last day at CCDA conference that i would like to share, each of which could probably be worked into their own blog post, but feel free to pick one and share your thoughts below:

# One of the worship leaders had this to say, “Some of us work 7 days a week and we are so busy we don’t even take SABBATH… and that’s on God’s top ten list alongside ADULTERY and MURDER.”

as part of the Simple Way and simply a bunch of people living together in a house in an area of great need, we have become all too aware of the importance of boundaries that help create the energy and resources for when you do open the door to people and welcome them in during the rest of the time – SABBATH is such an important concept and one Jesus took seriously.

# During a panel on reconciliation, one of the non-white participants said, “With RECONCILIATION, blacks and whites need to realise it’s not about the issue, it’s about RELATIONSHIP.”

While the issues might be important, without RELATIONSHIP happening there is going to be little depth and long-term effectiveness in solving them, whereas if you find genuine RELATIONSHIP happening then the issues will take care of themselves.

# Another panelist, one of the older generation had this powerful statement to make, “When younger people come to older people with HEART and FAITH, we remember what we believed in the first place.”

The INTERGENERATIONAL question is such an important one and has so much to add to community, society and the church. We have to find ways of building relationship between older and younger people as each one has something powerful to offer the other.

# A native american brother asked this question, “Am I going to preach THE AMERICAN DREAM or THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST cos I grew up believing they were the same?”

Wow, that is something every american needs to hear and really get as well as every western Christ follower who may have the concept of ‘the American dream’ in a different guise as their particular carrot.

Four strong statements – just snapshots really – but each one the glimpse of a deeper issue worth exploring further… this conference has been great at providing catalysts in certain areas and also some of the resources to work towards some answers and some practical steps in each of them…

none of the time.

i had this quick thort when we went shopping yesterday afternoon – as we were in the line about to pay we realised we were six eggs short of a full basket, or that we might need more than the six we were going to get, so tbV waited in line and i ran across Pick ‘n Pay to the egg section to grab some eggs – looked for the cheapest box of six and grabbed them and started to walk away when i realised i hadn’t grabbed the free range eggs [which we normally buy] and so i put my first box back and grabbed my second one…

box of normal be nasty to the chickens eggs – around R7

box of free range assume we’re being nicer to the chickens eggs – around R10

and as i walked back to Val i thort “we’re screwed”

if it ever gets out that i spent R10 on eggs when i could have spent R7 on eggs, the ‘give to the poor’ people will be on my case

on the other hand if i spend R7 on normal eggs instead of spending R10 on free range eggs, the ‘be nice to animals’ people will be on my case

so i took the eggs back and we decided to go without to keep everyone happy
[except for the bit about taking the eggs back]

but my point is that if you try to keep everyone happy, you actually just can’t – if you spend your life on poor people, the animal rights people will be after you and if you switch to animal rights then the HIV/AIDS people will be on your case and if you try juggle all of those then what about the children and if you look after the children then the old people and so on and so on…

the problem is not so much me choosing one thing over another but each person not doing their thing – we can’t all save all of the poor but if every person on the planet was trying to help one poor person i think we could even eliminate this thing – do the thing you’re called to do and if you don’t feel “called” to do anything then do the thing that’s on your doorstep until you feel a call…

you may have heard this before:

This old man is walking along the beach when he spots a little boy deeply focused on a strange task.

The tide has gone out, and there are hundreds of thousands of starfish up and down the beach that are now baking in the sun. The little boy bends down picks one up and throws it into the sea to safety.

After watching him for a while, the old man eventually can’t take it any longer and he approaches the kid.

“What are you doing” he asks.

“I’m saving these starfish,” the boy confidently replies.

The man gestures up the beach at the masses of starfish baking to death in the sun. “There are thousands of starfish there. What difference do you think you can make?”

And the little boy bends down and picks up a starfish and shows the old man and says to him, “I am making a difference to this one” before throwing it out into the sea. And then bends down to pick up another one. “I’m making a difference to this one.”

but take it one step further…


One little kid and thousands of starfish – absolutely no noticeable difference. He can save a starfish here and there but he is going to make virtually no impact and there are going to be a lot of dead and rotting starfish polluting the beach. But if everyone [starting with the church cos this is who we’ve been called to be] got down to the beach, where the need is, and started saving their one, their ten, their hundred… then there is a chance…

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