In years past, the word “help” was highly associated with geriatrics with particular attention on elderly men and women that had entered a stage in life where falling was a constant and often reality. One of the most iconic images was seeing a helpless woman home alone and lying on the bathroom floor with no possible way to help herself up to call for help. Today, there are many resources to help the elderly not to fall as much and to get medical attention fast should a fall occur. On the other hand, many in our culture today are in need of emergency assistance or “help” and advice from older couples who have modeled well what it means to grow old together in marriage and life. After reading the Sacred Gaze by David Morgan, I noticed later in the week several older couples in different settings interacting with one another. I want to share what I sensed, recognized, and was challenged by as I gazed (stared) at them as they were intentional about their actions towards one another. The three images that come to mind that I would like to highlight are her ring, his hair, and their synced irregularities.
While sitting in the warm, inviting coffee shop enjoying my allowable Christian addiction (espresso) and book, I glanced over saw the older two. It was neat as they were well dressed, grey haired, and seemed to really enjoy the other. Her ring glowed as the diamond sparkled majestically, yet the rest of the ring seemed as if it had seen better days although quite attractive in its antique wear. It spoke of sturdiness, longevity, and reflected beauty in its own way. We need older couples to share their raw stories of love, setbacks, and how they overcame difficult times. We need to hear from them how did they get to the point in life where the love is stile vibrant, they like each other, and enjoy life together. I choose sturdy and bulky any day over flashy, new, and untested by time.
His toupee appeared to have just come off of a merry-go-round. While walking side-by-side in the grocery store with his wife for what appeared to be more than fifty years, she gently grabs his hand to stop, repositions his toupee, then proceeds to kiss on cheek and continue on shopping. What grace and dignity she displayed towards him instead of ridicule or shame. Honestly, his hair was a mess, but she chose to send a message and I was the receiver. Look out for the other and be in a race to out give one another.
It appears that she really likes to shop. However, he was not annoyed or impatient. It was obvious that they had been shopping for a while and he would gently say something of the sorts like we can always try to find it tomorrow. In her own way, she caught eyes with him expressing her fondness and appreciation for him. Moments later, I heard her say I found something similar to what I was wanting but it has some irregularities. From out of nowhere and on cue like a drama on Broadway, he said that is perfect. It is just like us filled with irregularities, yet we are still weaving a beautiful marriage garment together. From that, I gathered that doing life together is not about pointing out the other’s flaws, but working on them and incorporating them in marriage. Just like no one garment is just alike, the same is true for a marriage. Go weave your unique garment together.
In closing, there are many older mature, happily married couples with great stories, lessons, and insights to share. We need only to get to know them or as is my case gaze and learn.