This is a continuation of the 73 Steps to Spiritual Communion with God. The previous posts are found in the archives. This is step # 69:
(69) To honor the aged.
Life that has been lived long has acquired wisdom that can not be learned in books. The idealism of youth often finds quick solutions to problems that the person with wisdom will merely smile at. They have seen it all and have grown to appreciate what is of the utmost importance and what is trivial in a way that those of us who are still learning have not.
There is nothing more valuable in a culture than those who have been around for a long time and can provide this perspective to life. I was blessed to live near my grandparents and to enjoy their wisdom as I was growing up. There is a perspective to life that they can give that younger parents can not.
Benedict's counsel encourages us to honor the gift of life that has been bestowed upon our elders; to hold them in high esteem, to seek their counsel. To learn from them when we disagree with them.
Our culture unfortunately has not followed this counsel of late. We present youth as the ideal. Older people are made to feel that their time is past. This is a tragedy and the lasting effects are yet to manifest themselves in our culture.
Honoring anyone is a sign that we recognize the value that they possess not only to us but also to all. Honor the older people you encounter today. Take time to say hello, take time to learn from them. Allow yourself to receive their blessing.