Alive Inside, An Unexpected Reminder at Chick-fil-A

My wife and I had taken our oldest granddaughter to Chick-fil-A. She is a cute, smart, and social nineteen-month-old. As we were eating an older woman walked by noticing our granddaughter, but she was on a mission to get to a table. Her husband lagged behind. Walking stooped and slow, he managed about six inches per step. Yet, he spoke to our granddaughter with the energy and vigor of a man half his age.

Long after they had both passed our table, I was still processing what had happened. Why was I surprised by his comments? Because, I had wrongly judged him! Before he spoke I had judged him by what I saw on the outside. My wife is accustomed to me taking a foray into deep thought and probably hadn’t noticed my silence. By his stooped and slow gait I had judged that the inside man was the same age and condition as the outside man, but that was not the case. He was very much alive on the inside! Allow me to explain.

Years ago I came across a quote that went something like this. “We die with the music still in us.” When my dad was in his mid sixties he told me, “I feel as young as I did when I was sixteen.” I knew that was not possible, but as my grandfather used to say, I studied on Dad’s comment for some time. Years later I asked my mom about her family dreams. Her response was what I expected, she dreams of her kids when we (and she) were young.

I am not sure what the author meant that we die with the music still in us, but I am getting a pretty good idea what he could have meant. We are all very much alive inside regardless of age or physical condition. Maybe that is why so many seniors with advanced age like to talk about the past. They are alive inside of a failing shell. So when you see me with my granddaughter at Chick-fil-A, don’t make the mistake that she is with some old man. I am very much alive inside, and so are all four of her great grandparents. You won’t offend if you ask, “Is this your daughter?’’ On the inside I am just as young as I was when her mother was a cute nineteen-month-old. 

Stan Means
Elder Source Senior Ministries