An older person spoke with me this week about being treated in a degrading manner at a senior citizen’s community. The staff tends to ignore and downplay the concerns of the residents. What can they know? They are old.
I saw that attitude when my parents lived in Sun City Center. Some of the doctors they saw were less than helpful. And people involved in maintenance and mechanics took advantage of them.
Well, given the way our society glorifies youth, this shouldn’t be a surprise. The back side of obsessively valuing youthful appearance is the degradation of those who are older. It is very sad. We all have parents and loved ones who are or were old. We ourselves if we are not older hopefully will be one day.
Part of the problem with devaluing those of advancing years is the damage it does to those who show this kind of prejudice. When we degrade or deny the humanity of others, when we show disrespect to others, we are also degrading, denying, and disrespecting ourselves, for we, too, are human beings.
In addition, when we discount those who are older, we are depriving ourselves and our society of their wisdom, experience, insights, and perspective. Then we risk making the same mistakes over and over and over again as individuals and a society.
In our faith tradition, there are many examples of older people who have played significant roles in the unfolding of God’s hopes and dreams. May we continue to expect God to be at work in that way.
Lectionary readings for today:
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
Prayer: We give thanks for older people and all that they contribute to the world. We are grateful for their wisdom and guidance and vision. Amen.