Solomon is touted as one of the wisest men who ever lived. His discourse in Ecclesiastes 12 however, is not one of my favorite chapters. When I was in my 30’s and 40’s – it was easy to dismiss the words of wisdom as something to do later. The advice he gave to “remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come and the years draw near of which you will say, ‘I have no pleasure in them.'” Then came the litany of vivid word pictures that describe what happens to an aging individual. Here is a short list of some of how Solomon described the effects of aging:
- keepers of the house tremble
- strong men are bent
- grinders cease because they are few
- those who look through the windows are dimmed
- afraid of what is high
- afraid of terrors in the way
- desire fails
This would not make a good print ad! I’m not sure that retirement communities would necessarily point out that your neighbors, especially the older ones, will be in the midst of one or more of these or all of these.
Enter mom. I watched her all weekend. What I saw was all of what Solomon described. Sure, she had her spurts of energy and spots where she was the “mom” again (or at least she attempted it), but generally Solomon was right on target. Well, of course he was as God gave him the wisdom to pen Ecclesiastes.
I enjoy cooking (and eating) and work hard to provide nutritious, tasty meals for us to enjoy. Well this weekend, I watched as no matter what was served or where – home or restaurant – mom would close her eyes and chew as if it was a monumental, laborious task. In this culinary centered society of ours, it is hard to imagine when eating becomes a chore to be endured. Because of the dementia, mom does not get hungry or thirsty. We have to make sure she eats and drinks. Mom can fall asleep sitting anywhere, but she is never tired so we have to make sure she rests.
In the 12th chapter of Ecclesiastes, Solomon says, “The words of the wise are like goads” (vs 11). Some of us are a little more stubborn than others and reject the pure wisdom right in front of our faces. I pray for a little less stubbornness for me and for mom. Gotta run – she is in the kitchen playing in the water again.