Reflections

The Challenges Of Old Age. MS/2019/12

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The challenges of old age are not and can never be the exclusive palaver of the old people of today. I presume our consciousness that the aged we see and sometimes neglect today were young and active yesterday. But today some people see them as distractions,waste pipes, storytellers, awaiting deaths, etc. These definitely reflect some aspects of their present life situation. But to relegate old people to an inglorious corner with such bias is to be unfair to life itself.

In order to effectively face the challenges of old age,Pope John Paul II called us to the urgent need to recover a correct perspective on life as a whole. ( To The Elderly no.10) The value of life does not depend solely on material output of the present moment.

I once met an old woman who cooked her food making use of dry banana leaves as firewood. She set her cooking pot on a stone tripod stand. Judging by the mineature sized pot on fire, the small mud house and the half fallen palisade that fenced the woman’s house, it was obvious that the old woman carried the burden of life alone.

She could not walk a long distance to fetch firewood because of the challenges of old age. Left with no other option, she decided to fetch her firewood around the few banana stands in her compound. With slow and unsteady steps, she bent down and put the dry banana leaves which she gathered to the fire 🔥. The fire blazed vigorously and died out almost as quickly as it grew.

The old woman was undaunted. She kept her confidence that her two pieces of air yam (adu) would be ready meal in a short time. The red oil,salt and “utazi” leaves were already assembled for the meal. Eventually, I was not there to witness the old woman’s lonely celebration of her meal.

The experience of the old woman calls to mind some of the challenges of old age, especially those of acceptance and caregiving. Why should old people be abandoned in the evening of their lives? Is it proper to evaluate old people by their present needs without reference to their past contributions and life’s ultimate aspiration?

Perhaps, we have many reasons that exonerate us from the love we owe to old people. We may never know that these self-justifying argument are void and useless until we become old ourselves.

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4 Comments

  1. Ken-C

    May 14, 2019 at 11:07 am

    What a deep reflection on the challenges of old age Padre
    Thanks for the effort in raising the consciousness of humanity.
    It is sad 😔 to see how our parents sacrifice everything to see us grow and when we are grown, we sacrifice our parents for anything.
    The idea of aged home in my mind.

  2. Hilary

    May 22, 2019 at 7:13 am

    The obvious has been stated. Every living being must get to old age, therefore lets make out time to help the aged around us to keep their smiles till its over.

    • frozuluonyew

      May 22, 2019 at 7:43 am

      Mustardstories appreciates your comments today the feast of St Rita. May she intercede for you as you write your exams.

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