Seniority, senility, and serenity
An echoing and lamentable episode is that Covid-19 has perniciously struck the old folks, mostly in the generation of baby boomers (between 57 to 75 years old). These people are most vulnerable during this pandemic season. If not fatally pierced by coronavirus, they may encounter various diseases. Comorbidity has aggravated, if not complicated, their health. With the risk of infection, disquietude somehow has governed our social life, and our social activities are largely mitigated by government oversight and protective policies. It is admirable that the government prioritized the senior citizens for vaccination. Gladly, I am a recipient of a Janssen vaccine.
Most sexagenarians in private institutions are retired; those who maintain competitive edge are rehired. However, in public institutions, old employees are still required or permitted to render services up to 65 years old. Acknowledged to have legal wisdom, judicial magistrates can retire at 70. A handful of enterprising and still energetic men of gray hairs are rewired for more lasting and usually beneficial services to the community. Like Benjamin Franklin and Carlos P. Romulo, old men of wisdom and integrity are most revered.
There is still life during this pandemic. We need to banish apprehensive uneasiness that paralyzes our social and economic life. Obedience to health protocols, taking heed to personal hygiene, and armed with prayer wherever, let us perform the tasks required for the good and weal of our family and community. John Jay offers a subtle persuasion: “God governs the world, and we have only to do our duty wisely, and live the issue to Him.”
Closely akin to seniority is senility where the physical and cognitive functions are largely deteriorating. During conversations, I struggle in groping for the right words or information to share and more embarrassingly distressful is my failure to recall the names of friends and acquaintances. God graciously forbid that I suffer Alzheimer’s disease. Such cognitive impediment significantly diminishes appreciation of life, a burdensome bondage, a mentally restricting behavior and increases the anxiety and vexation level of love ones as well as their caretakers.
To combat this deteriorating mental propensity, the old generation need to engage in light physical exercises like a walk in the park and have healthy consumption. Classic reading and creative writing is good; playing the historic chess games of Paul Morphy or Gary Kasparov or other computer games are recommended. Singing the karaoke would be a fine refuge for the day; however, prayerful and reflective reading and memorizing biblical scripture is excellent. This is corroborated by scripture: “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.” (Psalm 1:2)
In retrospection of my personal life, I would express, with preponderance that my cup overflowed with blessings. I felt the warmth of my cup with jovial acquaintances and colleagues. Career wise, I have attained the highest professional fulfilment in the university. I savoured the aroma of marital and familial bliss. I had the great taste in sipping the multitude of grace of the Lord Jesus Christ especially the personal salvation and imbibing into the divine statutes, commandments, precepts, and historic lessons in the book of Judges and Kings. Such acquaintance and knowledge of the whole scripture is enormously palatable, refreshing to the soul and spirit.
Even with the pandemic, I am experiencing such amazing serenity that transcends all understanding and consideration. Our daily work routine should be clothed with prayer and thanksgiving. Jerry Bridges aptly imparts: “Our trust must be in the sovereign will of God as He works in the ordinary circumstances of our daily lives for our good and His glory.”
While there are difficult situations in life, we will be able to handle these with perfect aplomb overcoming the psychological depressions that may result thereafter. Personal courage and rational thinking are not sufficient, but rather with prayer and blessed counselling that enlightens and liberates. At this crucial stage in life, let us petition serenity till we meet Heaven’s eternity; and hopefully not Hades’ worst adversity and fiery destiny. Before the last sleep of death, ponder on this bedrock maxim: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10) (HENRY P. DE LEON)