The Pastor’s Table: How happy you got to be was up to you...

I have lately attended my first two 100th birthday parties. I am looking for clues on how they did it. Luck and health are essential parts of it, but there is more. It’s the part we do ourselves. It won’t get you there, either, but nobody gets there without it. Alma and Eleanor are two very different people. They followed different paths to the century mark. They accepted different circumstances and life unfolded in different ways for each of them. Each responded in her own way, as best they could. Both made good. They didn’t complain. They had no use for enemies. They let God do the reckoning. They find something fresh in every day. The world fascinates them. They take risks, without being foolish about it. They are grateful for what they have. Eleanor broke her hip when she was 98. Just after surgery, feeling less pain, she was amazed how fast they did it. She looked forward to rehabilitation. Her life was still in her own hands, and she pressed on. She met everyone, patients and staff. She loved their stories and shared hers freely. Everyone was happy for her when she went back home, but they hated to see her go. Alma was 86 when I went to Huntley to lead worship for a little while. Being useful was an important part of who she is. I tried to take the broom from her one Sunday as she swept the church steps. You are the preacher, she protested, and you have a lot to do. I am old and can’t do much. “But I can do this, so you go do something else,” she told me. Both of them share magnificent insights into how life has changed. Born at the outset of the Great War, there wasn’t a car in Hysham or a light bulb on the Huntley Project. How happy you got to be was up to you. You don’t have a new car? So how’s your dinner? They know how much we have now. They are grateful in a deeply natural way, unconscious of it in themselves, making it all the more convincing. Above all, their honesty is unflagging. A thing isn’t true because it makes you rich, or a lie because it breaks you. You see what’s there in this life, or you miss it. Lying is something you do to yourself, and your friends are the ones you’re asking to pay. As for your opinion, well, it only gets in the way. Who cares whose fault it was? Will somebody please fix it? Fixing things is something we do together. Two people are three times stronger than one. Get tips on free stuff and fun ideas delivered weekly to your inbox Email Sign Up! Nobody wins an argument; but any group is smarter than the smartest person in it, if they all stay friends. Happy old people are not happy because they are old. They are old because they are happy. They permit the world, come what may, to make them better at each turn in the road. The beauty of living in a state of personal grace shines in them. As their days grow in number, the world they have been watching begins to watch them. Their presence anywhere changes what might happen next. The nicest thing about this gift? You start now. It’s the only time you can. Then, maybe at your 100th birthday party you can share a secret. You watched someone do it once. It looked like so much fun you couldn’t wait for your turn to forgive, or to be grateful, or to lend a helping hand. Then you sit back and watch for what happens next. There will be some little surprise in it. Just wait. You’ll see.

From Pastor Kelly Addy Bigfork Community United Methodist Church 750 Electric Avenue * 837-4547

Friday was Good Hundreds attended the 52nd Annual Bigfork Community Good Friday Service April 14 at Crossroads Christian Fellowship. -- Beagle Photo

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