When we grow old

I went to visit an older friend in a nursing care facility yesterday. She was in bed and we chatted for a few moments. Then I read last Sunday’s scripture from John 21. Jesus is walking on the beach with Peter after his resurrection. He has surprised his disciples with a breakfast and now asks Peter three times if he loves him. (Not long before Peter had denied he knew Jesus and had run away.) Then my friend and I got to the part where Jesus tells Peter, “When you were younger you used to fasten your own belt and go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will fasten your belt and take you where you do not want to go.” I suddenly stopped reading and my friend whispered, “That’s me. They have to do everything for me. I can’t do anything.”

Jesus may have been talking to Peter about martyrdom, but yesterday he was speaking to my friend about the indignities of age and disease. In either case, there may be many things that imprison our bodies and take us where we do not want to go, but in the end nothing can stop our hearts from loving…even if that is the only thing left we can “do”. Then Jesus told Peter, “Follow me.”

In a goal-oriented, production driven society, it is good to be reminded that when we can do nothing else, “follow me” is as simple as holding others and God in our hearts with love.


  1. My goodness, this is beautiful and evocative. Especially with that photo of a leashed Chester…Cyril would have related to this.

  2. P.S. I’m pretty sure that the “suspcicious vegetable” is a green-spored Lepiota. If so, your suspcicions are well founded.

  3. It’s a good thing I only admire these lovely growing things when I find then in the woods and only ingest the store variety. I am very impressed that you know your mushrooms!