I waited in the morning rush hour line at the local coffee shop. My laptop was in one hand and my work bag in the other, while I searched around for my debit card. An older gentleman stood beside me.
“You can go ahead of me”, he said with a smile. “You look like you have something important to do. I’ve done my time already, and besides, you’re probably paying for my social security too”, he said with a grin and a chuckle.
I laughed at the thought. “Yes, I guess I am.”
“I’m so old…”, he continued, “I remember when the Dead Sea was only sick.”
I let out a big laugh. He seemed pleased at my response, as if he had done his job for the day.
Throughout the day, I retold that joke to several more people, and they each had a good laugh too. This one old man had spread a lot of joy that morning.
I want to be like that when I get old, and I began to wonder what was his secret. I’ve observed that people usually take one of two paths when they get older: either they become bitter and depressed and generally unhappy about most things, or they live their life with a happy-go-lucky, not a care in the world attitude. I want to be the latter.
So how do we make sure we do not become bitter? It starts with how we live our lives today. What are our priorities? Do we put our families first, or do we emphasize work too much? Have we learned to forgive? Can we let go of things at the appropriate time and trust God for the rest?
I try to practice all these things but I still wanted some solid advice, some kind of script that I could follow to be sure. I know money isn’t the answer; I see lots of unhappy rich folks. Good health is not guaranteed for any of us and much of it is out of our control in our later days, so there must be something else. Then I ran across this passage while reading one day:
“How do we ensure that life gets better and not bitter as our days advance? Our treasure must be above. When our treasure is laid up in heaven, we go to our reward. We are not leaving it. Keep life and its treasure in perspective. It will make a difference now and forever.” – Randy Ray
That was the answer I was looking for. We are going to something. And it is never too late to start on the right path. There is always more we can do on this earth. Sometimes it’s as easy as brightening someone’s day in the coffee shop line, and making them stop and think.
The one who does God’s will remains forever. I John 2:16