February 24, 2024

It’s a double blessing when the quantity of years is of quality years. The Book of Psalm 90:10 says, “Seventy is the sum of our years, or eighty if we are strong.”
On Oct. 3, more than 150 senior citizens of Mountain Province gathered at a multipurpose hall in Bontoc to celebrate the 2023 Elderly Filipino Week with the theme “Honoring the invaluable legacy of the Filipino senior Citizens.”
It was a happy surprise for me being invited as the guest speaker and one of the judges of the First Senior Citizen Hymn Fest. The contested song is my original composition entitled “Growing old fracefully” into four parts done by Rev. Daniel Cariño. It was approved as the official senior citizen song for Mountain Province.
Here is an old anecdote that will surely make you smile and laugh.
Once upon a time there was a senior citizen named baket Maria who escaped to the city. Upon entering the bus, she was met by a chivalrous bus conductor to assist her to the front seat.
When the bus started, baket Maria also started to share peanuts to the driver. In every 10 kilometers the driver was provided with a cup of warm peanuts which he enjoyed during the travel.
Upon reaching Baguio, the driver was grateful to baket Maria. “Lola, it’s my first time to be treated with generosity while driving. The cup of warm and juicy peanuts kept me awake and vigilant all the way to Baguio. You are such a generous and thoughtful woman.”
Baket Maria smartly responded, “Well, sir driver, I am a senior citizen. I am already 90 years old. As you can see, I lost all my teeth and I cannot chew the peanut part. I just enjoyed leaking the chocolate part and leave the peanuts for you.” The driver collapsed and the senior citizen lived happily ever after.
Longevity means endurance. It is not simply long life. It is about the reason of living long.
We read the Book of Tobit 8:4,7. Tobias got out of bed and said to Sarah, [b] “Sister, get up, and let us pray and implore our Lord that he grants us mercy and safety.” So she got up, and they began to pray and implore that they might be kept safe. Grant that she and I may find mercy and that we may grow old together.”
The story of Sara and Tobias is a story of faithfulness to one another and faithfulness to God. It is a story of trust and dependence to God. It is a story of a couple whose mode of communication is prayer. Tobias died at the age of 127.
I posted the question to all the senior citizens who attended, “Is your age a quantity of life or a quality of life? Is your ‘chronos’ time in the ‘Kairos’ time?” Chronos starts from the day of our birth to the day we were baptized to the day of our death. Kairos is a time of fulfillment and a time without beginning and without end. It is God’s time.
As senior citizens, ask yourselves, “What is the purpose of my longevity? Is it a punishment or a blessing?” They loudly remarked, “Of course, it’s a blessing!”
I added, “Is it a chronos time in the Kairos time or just a chronos time?”
The dual citizenship of longevity is not only Filipino citizenship and senior citizenship but it should include the heavenly citizenship. We refer to the Letter of Saint Paul to the Philippians 3:20-21: “But our citizenship is in heaven and from it, we also await a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Grateful congratulations to Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Miguela P. Angwani and her staff members Evelyn Capsoyen, Aileen Kate Fateg, and Kim Waking for planning and organizing such a beautiful activity to honor the senior citizens of the province; and equally to Atty. Florence N. Taguiba, PFSCAP president; and Provincial Administrator Franklin Odsey for the encouraging messages and presence that served as morale boosters to the senior citizens.
Reach me at [email protected].