Tag Archives: old age

The Old Man and the Sea

IMG_0070I came across a copy of The Old Man and the Sea while cleaning a bookshelf.  A required read in high school, I recalled very little of it.  I was anxious to give it another look.

It’s a short story about a Cuban fisherman down on his luck.  He’s an impoverished old man who maintains a relationship with a boy.

The boy was once taught to fish by the old man.  He repays the elder by finding ways to  attend to his sustenance.  The two used to fish together before the old man’s string of bad luck caused the boy’s parents to insist their son fish with someone else.

A quote from the book:

“Luck is a thing that comes in many forms and who can recognize her? I would take some though in any form and pay what they asked.”

Hemingway successfully walks a tightrope, offering vivid descriptions while maintaining the flow of the story.  He also captures the double-edged sword of angst, which faces the serious fisherman; the plague of drought (not being able to catch any fish) verses hooking the catch of a lifetime (and being able to successfully land it).  Finally, there’s the struggle pitting man against beast.  The old man possesses seasoned and hardened skill while the fish possesses great strength and power.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

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Do dogs act their age?

In her book, Really Important Stuff My Dog Has Taught Me, Cynthia L. Copeland had this to say about how dogs age gracefully.

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“Age neither defines a dog, nor overwhelms his thoughts.  Because they live in the present, dogs don’t see time the way that we do, regretting years gone by and obsessing over the days that are left.  An old dog doesn’t focus on what he can no longer do, but what he still can do.  Dogs cope, they adapt, they look for reasons to wag their tails.”

 

Remembering our Creator

bubbles-1038648_960_720“Just as the setting sun signals the end of a day, so aging signals the approach of the close of one’s life” Wm. Barrick.

Ecclesiastes chapter 12

Verses 1, 2, 6 include the word “before,” referencing a series of events leading up to ones impending death. We should view verses 1-7 as one complete sentence (one complete thought) a description of aging as death approaches.

In conversations regarding death it is natural to consider one’s Creator. This has been the case throughout Ecclesiastes. God has made everything appropriate in its time (3:11); Consider the work of God (7:13-14); God made man upright (7:29); The activity of God who makes all things (11:5).

v1        Remember – reflect, embrace, acknowledge – shape your perspective.  Creator – a remainder that we are created beings (John 1:1-3; Genesis 1:1-2:3)

Before dark days come – times of misery, trouble. These stand in contrast to the days of our youth.

V2       Gathering storm – approaching of death

V3       Watchmen – male servants whose job it was to protect the household.  Strongmen – free men or neighboring household.  Grinders – female servants whose job it was to grind grain. Those peering out window – free women trying to avoid public eye in times of grieving

V4       Description of a strickened household or village.  Doors (plural) – would be a reference to a city gate. (Houses of that day only had one door)

V5       Afraid of heights, danger in the streets – fears of the aging or elderly.  Almond blossom – reminds one of human hair that has turned white

el-salvador-1507414_960_720Death (12:6, 7)

V6,7    Golden bowl – thought to be a lamp of oil

Silver cord – a means of hanging the lamp

Cutting the cord would shatter lamp (signifies death)

Pitcher – holds life-giving water (the water of life can no longer be drawn)

Wheel – could this be a pulley system used to lower the pitcher into a well

Spirit returns to God – hints of a continued existence after death.

Chuck Swindoll offers the following insight on verses 1-7.

  1. I must face the fact that I’m not getting any younger
  2. God has designed me to be empty without Him
  3. Now is the time to prepare for eternity

Epilogue (12:8-14)

Most commentators are of the opinion that the epilogue was written by someone other than Solomon.   Jewish tradition holds the epilogue was written by one of King Hezekiah’s men.  Wm Barrick stresses that Solomon could have indeed written the epilogue also.

v8        A refrain – a reoccurring theme of Ecclesiastes, Vanity, All is vanity (a vapor)

V9       pondered – weighed points for careful evaluation

Searched out – thoroughness, diligence

Set in order – ordered his thoughts in a skillful manner

V11     One Shepherd – God

V13,14 The emphasis is on God and commandments; the secondary emphasis is on fear and obey. “A knowledge of God leads to obedience not vice versa” (Eaton)

The whole duty – our essence – the essence of mankind to fear God and obey him.

Ecclesiastes asks the question, “What advantage [or profit] does man have in all his work he does under the sun?” David Estes suggests this answer; “the advantage resides not in human achievement apart from God, but rather in human connection with God.”

  • Remember God, the Creator (Eccl 12:1)
  • Fear God, the Creator (Eccl 3:14; 5:7; 8:12; 12:14)
  • Enjoy the life God gives (Eccl 9:7-10)
  • Prepare for leaving life “under the sun” (Eccl 12:1)
  • Prepare to stand before God in a future judgment (Eccl 11:9)

 

god-2012104_960_720How does one remember our Creator?

  • Notice God’s handiwork all around us at every opportunity
  • Thank God continually for all the blessings he gives
  • Obey His commands