The Blessing of Longevity
Last Saturday night I sat in a room with 42 veterinarians who were celebrating the 50th anniversary of their graduation from the School of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn University. My guess is that any symptom or ailment you might name of a dog, cat, cow, horse, sheep, chicken, bird, snake, or monkey could be quickly diagnosed by most in the room and a course of treatment prescribed. Those men have "seen it all" when it comes to pets and their people and love sharing their most outlandish stories, as well as memories from vet school years. One in the group wrote a book called "Doc, Did I Wake You Up?" and my own Silver Fox wrote "What a Way to Make a Living" both filled with entertaining tales. The emcee of the event asked for all who had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversaries to stand, and the majority in the room stood up along with their smiling spouses. It was a remarkable evening.
(Quick funny story -- Steve and I were reminiscing with another couple about how poor we were during our vet school days. The husband said, "Pat (his wife) called me one morning and said, 'I've invited the Pearsons over for supper. Is it okay if I buy a chicken?' I thought to myself, 'We're friends, but I don't know whether we're THAT good of friends.'" Needless to say, Pat bought that chicken, and we had a great time together.) :)
Less than a week before the reunion, I stood at the graveside service for the 93-year-old father of a dear friend who left behind his wife of 70 years. A month earlier, we mourned the passing of a long-time friend of the Pearson family who died three weeks after her 98th birthday. Both of those nonagenarians were well-respected and very active in their churches until their very last years. My 80-year-old cousin's wife who died suddenly last week left behind stunned friends who had received calls or cakes from her days earlier. Those 3 long lives brought glory and honor to God through their acts of kindness and service to others and through their prayers and words of praise to Him.
Reminder upon reminder of people who had led and are still leading full lives, serving and loving others well.
Not everyone gets the opportunity to "live to a ripe old age," and not all who do are able to stay active and continue making an impact on the world. That's why the significance of these events stood out to me so vividly.
At the reunion, a roll call of sorts was read revealing the deaths or health statuses of those who weren't able to be there. The ones in the room felt blessed indeed.
An unknown faced by each of us is the "number of our days." Each day that we wake up with a healthy mind and body is a day to celebrate, a day that can be used to make someone else's day brighter, a day to share the love of Jesus, a day to laugh, encourage, and love. Certainly not a day to squander or waste moments in bitterness or regret.
I have already lived 17 years longer than my own mother did. Until God calls me home, I want to use my time on earth to make a difference. If you're reading this, then God has gifted you with another day as well. Recite with me: "This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it." (Psalm 118:24)
Undoubtedly, the greatest blessings of longevity that Steve and I have)
Proverbs 3:13-18 -- "Those who find wisdom are fortunate; they will be blessed when they gain understanding. Profit that comes from wisdom is better than silver and even the finest gold. Wisdom is worth more than fine jewels. Nothing you desire has more value.
With her right hand, Wisdom offers long life—with the other hand, riches and honor. Wisdom will lead you to a life of joy and peace. Wisdom is like a life-giving tree to those who hold on to her; she is a blessing to those who keep her close."
Proverbs 9:10-11 -- "Wisdom begins with fear and respect for the Lord. Knowledge of the Holy One leads to understanding. Wisdom will help you live longer; she will add years to your life."