My Brother’s Keeper

Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.  Philippians 2:4

There are stories in each crease, crevice, and line in an old face. There are years of happiness, regret, sorrow, wisdom, and triumph behind each watery eye. On the wall over the kitchen table in my mother’s kitchen hung a wooden picture of an old bearded man with a hot steaming mug of something – I loved his face. I thought he was a fisherman warming up over a cup of something lovely, sitting by candle-light at his own table in a tiny cottage built from my imagination.

I have always loved old people – their stories – their humor – their wisdom. In fact, weirdo that I was, I often felt more comfortable in the company of people 60 years my senior than I did with those my age. They were books to me, brilliant, beautiful books full of anecdotes, wisdom, and laughter.

There was Mr. Courtney, the Irishman in my apartment complex who would stop to chat; the Olson’s who shared Sunday meals or dessert with Mom and me; the retired missionary nuns at the convent nearby who regaled me with stories of their time over-seas or kept me cackling with their hilarious sense of humor. There are so many older people dotting the timeline of my youth that my heart is flooded with the borrowed memories of the past hundred years or more.

My husband says I am an old soul. Truth be told, people have been telling me that my whole life. I used such antiquated language in school that teachers would sometimes pull me aside to comment on it. Even my colloquialisms are sometimes snatched from some yesteryear prompting others to crack-up and comment that they hadn’t heard “that” said since their great-aunt or grandma.

So when I heard that the social distancing we need to be practicing was less for the health of our young and more about preserving the lives of our elderly, I took it to heart. Aside from my immediate family and friends, many of my favorite people in the world are 20 to 40 years my senior. If she were with us still, my mom would have just celebrated her 78th birthday. So, for the sake of my favorite people, I urge you to think of them as you are out and about. Think of them when communities begin to shut down. Let’s work to protect and provide for the story-keepers of the world because their loss would be the biggest blow of all.

God bless you all and be safe.

 

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