Honouring your Parents.

This last year I have been at too many funerals. It keeps one vulnerable to the reality that my time is short on this planet.

Praise God he extended my life by healing me from fourth stage cancer. It will be nine years this year since I was healed. I have experienced more and more God’s care and restoration in my life.

Psalm 71 says Even when I am old and grey, do not forsake me, my God.

Psalm 90 says, Our days come to seventy years or eighty, if our strength endures. Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

I hope in God’s promises to me. He has been faithful to heal me.

Seeing friends who are ill and vulnerable makes me realise the importance of family. My husband and family have been there for me when I had cancer and more recently when I was nursing a broken arm.

Receiving a phone call to show one cared lifted my spirits. I felt even better when one came to visit or stay a while to help me. Bringing cooked food showed me love.

Many parents are left lonely and without help in their old age because loved ones leave home to work in foreign countries. Work there demands their time and they don’t have time to think of parents back home growing old.

Sickness can come to an aged person because of loneliness. With no one to visit or encourage one, it is harder to recover. Yes the health services help to a certain degree. Friends, if one has any, can help for a season.

Having the support of family keeps one alive. Psalm 127 says “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.” When I had cancer my children rallied around me, cared for me and prayed for me. They were patient with me and brought my healing.

I know a friend who in her forties returned home to care for her elderly parents which took a period of twelve years. She is now married. Another friend, even though she had family of her own cared for her parents for ten years. Another lady, a widow, lived till her eightieth year, though she had ill health all her life, because her two sons went to see her every day.

Old people live long lives in Japan and Sardinia, not because they have money. In Japan older people have communities where they have activities and social interaction. Life is extended in Sardinia because the elderly parents are cared for by their children. They are surrounded by their grandchildren and help in their rearing. It has been studied that helping with grandchildren extends one’s life.

In China the law requires the children to look after their parents. They will be punished if they don’t. It is good to hear that China’s law’s are in line with what the Word of God says. “Honour your mother and father and it will go well with you and you will live along life.” It’s the only commandment with a promise.

In the West, so called “civilised world” sadly this commandment has been neglected. Young people have opportunities of education, travel and work. They end up being busy and years pass by. They forget their parents who reared them and gave them a start in life.

I visited a home recently where a lonely elderly couple lived. The garden was unattended. The paint work was not renewed for years. Inside the dust has gathered. Newspapers are piling up. They are neglected. The children have gone to foreign lands to work. Money does not buy love as the Beatle song goes. Another song has words that say “Bring your love to me, don’t send it.”

I was grieved last year to visit a dying friend. She was in a luxurious nursing home, where no expense was spared. Her children paid the bill, but they were in far away countries. No one to hold her in her last days on earth.

I could give more examples. If this message touches your heart, please think of your own parents or look out for elderly people you know.

In “Healing”

The North and South of Ireland.

The small island of Ireland is a country on the west of Europe.  It is known as the Emerald Isle.  Photos taken of Ireland from the Space Station show the island is totally green.  The photo does not show up any outline of a border.  Since 1922 this beautiful land has been divided.  Six counties in the north are called Northern Ireland.  The remaining twenty six counties in the south are called the Republic of Ireland.

It was such a photo from the space station that inspired me to make a mosaic map of Ireland.   I live beside the beach.  I first picked up green pieces of broken glass there in May a year ago.  The green, broken pieces of glass could have one time been parts of bottles that would have been used for all kinds of drinks.  Before modern times when we are encouraged to recycle our empty bottles, many such bottles were disgarded into the sea from residents or ships that docked at Portaferry.

There were many shades of green among the pieces. As I looked at them I was inspired to make a mosaic of my country, Ireland, which has thirty two counties. I found a piece of wood and a tube full of tile filler.  The outcome was a mosaic picture of Ireland.

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The pieces of glass on the beach are all that remain of once useful vessels.  The edges weren’t sharp any more and their colours were cloudy from the years of being broken and worn with the sea storms.  They had lost their shine.  As the raw glass is broken into smaller pieces and slowly polished by the sand as it is rolled around in the surf for anywhere from 5 to 50 years it becomes sea glass.

Like precious gems, sea glass is rare and beautiful.

Some of the synonyms for broken are

Damaged, in pieces, severed, injured, fragmented, dismembered, shattered.

The sea glass reminds me of broken people. The words above can be used to describe them.  What hope is there for them?  Each one may have felt useful at some part of their life.   One may have felt whole at one time but life’s tests bring brokenness.  These people have been worn down by the storms of life.

Circumstances in life bring troubles, disappointments, lose, fear, anxiety or rejection or divorce and one is relegated to the ash heap.

“He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes, with the princes of his people.”

Psalm‬ ‭113:7-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

But even after many years Our Creator God can reach down and touch all that remains of a broken vessel and make something new.  My mosaics speak to me of hope.  There is life after brokenness.  

Like people, Ireland has been through much brokenness in her history, famines, invasions, civil wars, external wars, emigration, recession and divisions.  Despite it all Ireland is surviving.

Just this week in the local Papers.  I read these reports.

The Belfast Telegraph article by Cate Mc Curry on 17 th May 2016

Beautiful  County Fermanagh came top in a survey to find the UK’s most neighbourly places.

It showed Northern Ireland is friendlier than anywhere in England, Scotland and Wales, with Fermanagh topping the list of counties ahead of Armagh and Antrim.

All of Northern Ireland’s counties made the top 10 friendliest spots across the UK – with the province dominating the top six.

The findings emerged after a study by the Big Lottery’s Big Lunch, which aims to bring communities together and reduce loneliness and isolation. Now in its eighth year, The Big Lunch is an idea from the Eden Project, made possible by the Big Lottery Fund. It aims to get as many people as possible to have lunch with their neighbours in a simple act of community, friendship and fun.

According to the website Belfast Live,  Belfast has been voted the best city in the UK to visit.  I quote,

“Belfast scooped the top accolade at the Guardian and Observer Travel Awards 2016.

The annual awards recognise excellence across the tourism industry and are voted for by members of the public.

Belfast now welcomes around seven million visitors a year and nearly two million of them stay for at least one night.

And tourism contributes more than £450million to the city’s economy annually.”

Whatever your budget, you will find a place in Belfast to eat or stay that suits you.

I am very encouraged to read about this success for Belfast.  Despite Policital controversy Belfast is prospering!

Here is another success report from the Independant.ie on 17 th May 2016. I quote,

The report suggested that people in Ireland enjoy some of the healthiest lives.

A woman, with a life expectancy of 83.1, can also expect to spend 68 of those years in good health, while a man, who can expect to live to 79, can also look forward to 65.8 years with no major health scares.

Elsewhere, the figures also indicate a well-educated and hard-working nation.
The number of 25-34-year-olds who have been to college or university is the fourth highest in the EU – and they put it to use.

The report noted that even though we clock long hours, the productivity per hour was the fourth highest in Europe, behind Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The study confirmed Irish marriages last long with the divorce rate the lowest on record, 0.6 per 1,000 people.

The country still had the third fastest growing population in Europe over the previous 10 years.

http://www.independent.ie/breaking-news/irish-news/irish-have-longest-marriages-and-second-highest-birthrate-in-europe-34665106.html

Ireland is a safe place to live for the unborn, the young and old.  I have always maintained that Ireland has been a good place to raise a family. Now people from all counties are circulating around our island from the south to the north, and the east to the west.   May Ireland always remain green and friendly in the north and the south.

I believe God is reaching down and restoring our land as evidenced by these three newspaper reports.  People will want to come to live in this friendly place.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/south/

I Began to Fear Growing Old.

I was reading a list of recommendations given by Pat Devilly a popular fitness trainer from Galway, on his post.  A line on the list reads,

“Spend time with people over seventy and under the age of six.”

Having reared fourteen children, I have spent much time with children.  I have to admit I have not spent much time with older people over the years.

After reading this Blog by Pat Devilly, I decided to pay a visit to an elderly friend.  Ten years ago she had two knee replacements.  She was very brave and recovered well.  Every night her sleep is disturbed by night sweats.  She has to change her night dress through the night.  I thought “Poor lady, she has to endure this hardship.”  I was humbled to hear about her difficulties but she continues enduring without complaint.
I began to fear growing old and with it failing health.

I was reading on Facebook recipes for being forever young.  Drink plenty of water, eat vegetables, don’t take sugar or processed foods, go for walks, garden, lose weight.  The list goes on and on.  I realized I would become exhausted trying to be forever young and eating lettuce to avoid pains and aches that many older people suffer.

I began to drink more water and my whole system reacted to the excess fluid.  I wasn’t well for days!  I tried to diet but failed miserably.  I try to go for a walk but other demands come first.  The weeds are flourishing in my garden!  The dreams of cooking wonderful dishes with the herbs from my garden has not materialized.

I decided to stop reading such articles on Facebook, I stopped drinking excess water, I eat when I’m hungry and don’t starve myself.  I will go for a walk when I desire, not because I should.  I will go back to gardening when I have the strength.  I will continue to wear the dress size I need to and not try to fit into a smaller size.  My body and mind were getting stressed with the fear.

I reminded myself of the scripture fromPsalm 91
“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;  He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” (‭Psalm‬ ‭91‬:‭14-16‬ NIV)

God promises me a long life.  If I have any sickness, pain or any other trouble in the future God promises to deliver me from each one.  As for me I will enjoy my life each day and not live in fear.  God has delivered me from death by healing me from cancer.  He will continue to help me.

DP Challenge I am Looking Forward to the Golden Years of Life after being Healed of Cancer

In this world we have to live with one another, young and old, rich or poor, black or white, male and female, even though we have different perspectives of each other and disagree with one another.  Writing has helped me slow down and think outside the box and look at life from another’s perspective.
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Here are two stories that gave me perspective about my age from someone else’s view.
I went to a local store recently to buy a fish supper.  Here in Ireland it is our favourite, tried and tested take away.  Pizza and kebab shops have opened and shut down again.
I was taken aback when the assistant said “Do you want the pensioner’s deal?”  I forgot I had white hair and I certainly did not feel like a pensioner, even though I am one.  I also thought a pensioner’s portion would be a few small pieces of cod and a few chips!  The lady noticed my surprise and quickly reassured me that the portions are the same but it is cheaper.  She was being kind.
 This was the first time I realised that other people see my age, but I had never considered how I look to other people.  I feel young inside and think I am young on the outside too.
 A few days later, in another village I was looking at some outdoor plants for sale.  I heard this voice hail me saying “Young lady, can I help you?”  I looked around to see if there was someone else he was talking to.  He was talking to me!   I smiled and picked out a pot plant to buy.  He was a good salesman.
When I look back I remember when I was ten years of age I thought my mum was very old.  She was only forty at the time.  That was not old.  My eldest child is over forty now and I think of her as thirty something.
I was married at twenty.  In my generation it was common to get married young.  Nowadays young women and men find it difficult to meet a suitable partner and the average age for marriage is around thirty.  I think it is harder to raise children today because of the pressure on the family unit.
I have a friend who is sixty five.  She looks like fifty.  I put it down to her mother and father living into their nineties.  She always knew there was someone looking out for her.
When my husband and I attended parent teacher meetings for our younger children, we were the only grey haired parents there.   The other parents were much younger.  I hope my children were not embarressed letting their friends see us.  From my perspective I was a parent and my age did not matter to me.
My children told their teachers when their first nephew was born.  I attended an event at the school soon afterwards.  I was congratulated for being a grandmother.  I had never been celebrated as much for having my own children.  There must be something special about getting to see one’s grandchildren.  Thankfully I am alive and have survived cancer, to see twelve grandchildren so far.
The scripture in psalm 127 says “May you live to see your children’s children.”  It is a blessing.
I  realised my age when I did not have the strength to work in the garden for long.  A few years before I was clearing ground, digging up my vegetable patch or mowing the lawn.  I now plant up pots.  I know my limits.
My husband and I have been considering moving from this big home for a couple of years.  We now see it is too much work for us.  We are delighted to be moving to a smaller home that suits our needs.  God has guided us in this new move.
As one is older one has a perspective on life that is coloured by experience, mistakes, pain and how one copes with what life throws at you.  Younger people have less experience and generally are influenced by their peers rather than experience gained over many years.  Like the child who burnt his hand he knows not to touch the hot stove again.  The Word of God says we learn obedience through the things we suffer.
Jesus said to Peter, who was a bit head strung, “When you are young you will go wherever you want but when you are old others will lead you.”
God made us and he realises our vulnerability and weakness as we get older.  We may be concerned about a loved one or our health may fail.  One is not in control.  But if one trusts God he will give us courage and strength to keep going.  Jesus said “Cast all your care upon me because I care for you.”  He is our refuge in time of trouble.
The bible is full of promises about when one is old.  Here are a few that give me hope in the goodness of God.
Psalm 91 says “With long life will I satisfy you”
“Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.” (Psalm 71:9, 18 NIV)
Psalm 90 promises we can live till we are seventy.  As one believes God’s word one can expect to live to seventy at least.  Too often we listen to what doctors or others tell us instead of listening to what God says.
“Seventy years are given to us! Some even live to eighty. But even the best years are filled with pain and trouble.  Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. (Psalms 90:10, 12 NLT)
I believe being there for my children and grandchildren is important.  It gives security, like my friend, that someone cares.  Can a mother forget the child she bore?  I am staying alive because I want to see the promises that God has given me about my family and destiny fulfilled.
I am blessed to have a loving, caring husband for companionship for the latter part of our lives.  He often tells me the best is yet to be.  I agree with him.  The work of looking after my children is over.  I will still pray for them.  I am looking forward to my new home and new beginnings.
I can say that God is faithful.  He has cared for me during my younger years and even to my gray hair.  I can truly say God is good all the time.
From my perspective as I am older it is good to rest, value life and be thankful.  Love covers and protects us all and helps us to live together even though we have different perspectives.
dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/weekly-writing-challenge-golden-years/