You will never grow old,
While there's love in your heart.
Time may silver your golden hair,
As you dream in an old rocking-chair,
You will never grow old.
Don't be fretful, or regretful,
That you will grow old much too soon.
With a love, dear, to dream of, dear,
You'll stay like a rosebud in June.
My dad was no great singer, but he loved to sing to my mom, and I still remember dad singing these lyrics of Nat King Cole to my mother many moons ago. And as I thought of those lines about growing old, I chanced to read an article on ageing by General Douglas Mac Arthur:
‘Youth is not entirely a time of life; it is a state of mind. It is not wholly a matter of ripe cheeks, red lips, or supple knees. It is a temper of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigour of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life. It means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, of an appetite for adventure over love of ease.
Nobody grows old by merely living a number of years. People grow old only by deserting their ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest, wrinkles the soul!
Worry, doubt, self-distrust, fear and despair….these are the long, long years that bow the head and turn the growing spirit back to dust.
Whatever your years, there is in every being's heart the love of wonder, the undaunted challenge of events, the unfailing childlike appetite for ‘what next,’ and the joy and the game of life.
You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt.
As young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear.
As young as your hope, as old as your despair.
In the central place of your heart there is a recording chamber; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer and courage, so long you are young!
When the wires are all down and your heart is covered with the despair of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then and only then are you grown old!
A woman asked Robertson McQuikin, “Why does God allow us to get old?” Robertson replied, “I think God has planned the strength and beauty of youth to be physical, but the strength and beauty when growing older is spiritual. We gradually lose the strength and beauty that is temporary so that we’ll be able to concentrate on the strength and beauty that is forever!”
So even as I reminisce on my dad and his singing, I realise that it’s a different strength and beauty we should be building up as we get older, a strength that will give us a knowledge of eternity and a beauty that will reflect the God we walk with..!
Robert Clements is a newspaper columnist and author. He blogs at www.bobsbanter.com and can be reached at email@example.com