A friend sent me this story:
The first time I attended day-school at the Open University, our professor introduced himself, then suggested we get to know someone we didn’t already know. I was looking round when a hand touched my shoulder. I turned to find an elderly lady smiling at me; that smile lit up her entire being. She said, ‘Hello. My name’s Rose. I’m eighty-seven, I’d like to give you a hug.’
I laughed and responded, ‘Of course.’ she gave me a giant squeeze, so I asked, ‘Why are you here?’
She laughed and answered, ‘I always dreamed of having a college education, and now I’m getting one.’
Later, we walked and talked and became instant friends sharing confidences over the next year. Rose became a campus icon, easily making friends wherever she went and passing on jewels of wisdom through her experiences.
At the end of the year, Rose was asked to speak to her fellow students. On the podium, she dropped her prepared speech and joked, ‘I’m so scared – I gave up wine for Lent and this whisky is killing me – so let me tell you what I know. We don’t stop playing because we’re old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young – being happy; achieving success; laughing and finding humour every day, and remembering to have a dream, because when you lose your dreams – you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and they don’t even know it.
There’s huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you’re nineteen years old and lie in bed for a whole year and don’t produce anything, you’ll turn twenty-one, but if I, at eighty seven stay in bed for a year and never do anything, I’ll turn eighty-eight; anybody can grow older. It doesn’t take talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Regret nothing.
Shortly after gaining her degree, Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand students attended her funeral wishing to pay tribute to a wonderful woman who taught by example that it’s never too late to be what you want to be, and achieve what you want to achieve.
We are promised a safe landing, but not a calm passage. Growing older is mandatory; growing up is optional. We may make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. If the Lord brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it.
Driving along a small lane yesterday, I saw a sight that thrilled me; thousands of snowdrops lining a bank beside an almost hidden brook, and I was reminded of Rose and her story.