My Old Blue Jacket
A few weeks ago I shared with you the story of my beautiful new navy blue jacket. Did you know that I possess another blue jacket? My old blue Jacket? I’d better tell you about that one too. After all, it’s been around much longer than my new one. While my new blue jacket is only a few weeks old, my old blue jacket is a little bit older. No. Not 1 year old. Not 5. No – it’s not 20 years old. Just a wee bit more.
My old blue jacket is all of 25 years old! Can you believe it?
And I still enjoy wearing it.
We were poor students. My husband was doing his PhD at the University of Bath, UK. I was job hunting. And so we had to keep counting our pennies. They were never enough. I was homesick. Shivering in the throes of a ‘Bathonian’ winter. The job hunt seemed to go on and on. And on and on. But … eventually…. 8 long months later – it finally occurred.
I got myself a job. Yay! You can imagine the excitement. The relief. It was time to do some shopping. And guess what I bought? Yes, I bought my lovely light blue jacket. It was soft and comfortable. Large enough to wear a few layers of jumpers inside it. Just right for an English Winter. I wore it every time I went out. It kept me warm.
When we came to Australia 11 years later, that same jacket travelled with us. I wear it even now during our mild South Australian winters when I’m out walking. I’m not the slim young 30 year old I was in1988 but I can still wear my old blue jacket. (It’s being kind to me, isn’t it?) I like the way it looks – even 25 years on. Yes, my old blue jacket is just as precious as my new blue jacket. And it has a history that makes me proud of it.
My old blue jacket may be old but it’s still useful. My old blue jacket may not look posh and new but it’s still valued. A 25 year jacket may sound strange in this throwaway world. We buy too much – and throw them away too soon, don’t we? And relationships? In spite of all the ways we are connected in this modern day world, relationships die too easily. Marriages often end before they even begin. A 25 year old relationship is pretty rare these days, let alone a 50 year old marriage. There’s something solid and dependable about friendships that have stood the test of time, don’t you think?
I’ve been reading a very interesting book on cultures that enjoy longevity. The author mentions three cultures in parts of Russia, South America and Japan where many live well beyond 100 years. Their long lives were attributed to be their diets (very little meat, lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, no processed food) and lifestyles (without modern day stresses) and most of all their wonderful close connections with each other.
Something that warmed me is that they look up to older people. It was an insult to be told ‘You look younger than your years’. It was a compliment to be considered old. Perhaps we can learn from them. Our modern day lifestyles boast of many wonderful things – technology, connectedness, better medicine, entertainment, comfort…. there’s much to be thankful for. Yes, there’s lots of good in the new.
But do we sometimes forget the beauty of the old?
Why is getting older looked upon as something negative? Old age does bring many difficulties of course. No doubt about that. There are aches and pains, loss of independence, illness, frailty. But our older folk have much to offer us. Their experiences. Their wisdom. Their maturity. They have more time to pray. They matter.
My oldest friend, my beloved Mum is a testament to it. At 88 she is still making a remarkable difference not just to her family but also to her community and her world. She proves to me that like fine wine that grows richer with age, our elders contribute to our lives, that they are needed; that they can teach the young a thing or two. They matter.
And what of stories? Have you ever wondered about the oldest story in the world? Let me read from the Word. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.’ Genesis 1:1 In the beginning. Yes.
We can’t go back further than the beginning.
The oldest story starts with God.
Let’s thank God for our older people – who add much richness to our world.
Let’s thank God for relationships in our lives which have lasted.
Let’s thank God that He who existed before time began, still is and will reign forever.
Let’s pursue a relationship with the One who existed even before time began.
In the beginning… God..... (Genesis 1:1)