Are your thoughts up to date?

(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)


I must say, I am thrilled at the responses we have gotten to yesterday’s Catch about older people going downward in age and outward in relationships as opposed to the more common practice of older people to go upward in age and inward into isolation. I love what Peter said, “So let your body be old but your thoughts up to date.” This is surely possible.

To illustrate this, I don’t have to go any further than my own mother, who in her 80’s used to complain about those “old” people around her in their fifties and sixties! 

I’ll never forget the moment I had with her after she had pretty much lost her memory — not knowing who I was or who she was, for that matter. Yet we sat on a park bench in an arboretum and talked about what we were seeing in the trees, and the colors, and the sky. We were experiencing the eternal “now” together. I wrote a song about that experience; the lyrics are below. She was still young then.

When she died at 89, a volume of women from 20 years old to middle age stood up to sing her praises in a memorial service that stretched for two hours as she had taught them through a Bible study and counseled them over the phone as long as she was coherent. You’re only as old as you think you are. My mother was never a day over 40.

And then there was an older couple — both of them acting like kids most of their lives — who heard me sing one of my early songs in 1967 in a church that had never seen a guitar in its 50-year history. They sought me out, and supported the beginning of my career as a pioneer in Jesus music. They were old, but their thoughts were up to date.

And there was John, who taught us the three-word phrase that should never be uttered in our lifetimes — “in my day …” Your day is over. The only day that really matters now is today.

And then Bob from Seattle introduced us to Lily Ebert, the 98-year-old young woman who has taken the Tik Tok audience of mostly GenZ kids by storm, telling her story as a Holocaust survivor #A-10572. See her story here. She is committed to telling her story as long as she can, and with the help of her great grandson, she is telling the world, and especially the younger generations who are largely ignorant of the holocaust. “In reaching out to the Tik Tok generation, Lily is keeping a lifetime promise alive.”

Do we not also have a lifetime promise that must be kept alive? If Lily can be a voice of the Holocaust to a Tik Tok generation, can we not be the voice of Christ to the Millennials and younger using their tools to reach them?

The Corner of Her Eye

On a park bench she sat looking

At the trees that lined the hill

Trying hard to find the words

When she knows she never will

So she watched the sad leaves shimmer

All innocent and shy

As she caught the golden sunset

In the corner of the sky

And I sat there with her wondering

Though she did not know my name

If she could see me smiling

And love me just the same

And I thought I saw a glimmer

Of all the years gone by

As I caught the golden sunset

In the corner of her eye

She didnt have to say it

Didnt even have to try

Cause she said it for a lifetime

From the corner of her eye

Now she dances by my window

But I cannot let her in

Or recreate the feeling

Of her touch upon my skin

Still I see a ray come shining

From across a broken sky

Like that gleam of reassurance

From the corner of her eye

She didnt have to say it

Didnt even have to try

Cause she said it for a lifetime

From the corner of her eye

This entry was posted in Millennials, relationships, Worldview and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Are your thoughts up to date?

  1. Mark D Seguin says:

    Absolutely LOVED this brilliant question in Today’s Catch:

    “Do we not also have a lifetime promise that must be kept alive? If Lily can be a voice of the Holocaust to a Tik Tok generation, can we not be the voice of Christ to the Millennials and younger using their tools to reach them?” My answer: Yes & Amen!

  2. Alma Siemens says:

    That resonates with me. I want to be remembered like that, being able to encourage and tell not only my “history” but what Jesus is doing in my life right now.

  3. Okay, this next video is a crazy departure from Lily’s story but it still makes an intergenerational connection that was – and is – so desperately needed.
    30, 40, 50, 60 years ago when we were the millennials of our era, films and music like this resonated with us and, on occasion, irked many of our elders (the boomers of our time).
    But it didn’t stop us because we lived with a freedom and joy that apparently got lost or boring to many of our more-serious seniors, aka: grown-ups!
    However, Lily and others like her were (and are) the exceptions. As you implied John, Lily is still a vibrant youthful 20-year old in a 98-year young body.

    We were once young ourselves. Let us never lose that.
    Let not the image in the mirror, the deterioration of time, or the attitude of curmudgeonliness take away our youthful vigor and deaden our love for life in Jesus Christ.
    Be an inviting and welcoming hand reaching out to help our junior sojourners who, one day (sooner than they realize), will be in our position.
    Be the example in helping everyone see that life can be just as joyful, productive, and meaningful at 48, 58, 68, 78, 88, and 98 as it is at 18, 28, 38… and all the other birthdays before, after, and in-between!

    Make Jesus’ Love – and therefore your Love – really real.
    And the best way to do that is to follow Him and His lead…

    • John A Fagliano says:

      That movie forever changed the way I think of “I Will Follow Him”. As far as I’m concerned, the song about God and the lyrics are perfect. It’s also the only version of the song I ever hear. After almost 30 years I keep coming back to it. Although I’ve never seen this posting with the “Follow Me” verses after it. Nice touch.

  4. Peter Leenheer says:

    When the old hymns and the new songs first both came into the worship service there was great controversy and division over what was the ‘right music’. Strangely enough no one ever asked God which genre he liked better, we just assumed what we liked what was God (actually we) wanted to hear.

    I was in my forties. One Sunday I was at an out of town worship service. I chose to sit with what looked like a 70+ old lady. She lustily sang the hymns and also the songs posted on the overhead projector ( Remember those things?) In a quiet moment she said to me, if we sing only hymns the young people leave. If we sing only new songs old people leave…so we sing both. We need to learn to love each other, not lord it over each other.

    I have never forgotten that. Loving each other begins with listening to one another’s point of view. As I say to my kids, When you suggest something to me, I listen. If your ‘suggestion’ sounds like a command, I bristle and we have nothing to discuss.. That works both ways. Our relationship has gotten considerably better since. Walk a mile in my shoes. Before you criticize and accuse..walk a mile in my shoes.

  5. Marcy says:

    I love this so much! My grandparents retired to a Christian Retirement Community in Florida when they were in their 70’s. I chuckled the day my Grandma told me they were moving out of the community and away from the old people. They were active in life well
    into their 90s. My grandfather battled with Alzheimer’s and one day went out for a drive and couldn’t find his way home! It’s was very scary! Their sons made the decision to move them to a nursing home around the counter from their oldest son in Iowa.
    I couldn’t picture my grandparents being in a nursing home, but knew that my grandma needed help caring for her partner of more than 75 years; and grandpa needed to be in a safe place so he did not injure himself or someone else. During the time they were there, my husband went to his Heavenly home after a five year battle with cancer. My only child had just moved to the suburbs of Indianapolis, her husband taking a position a a church there. I spent a great deal of time in Indy that year. Iowa was not so far from Indy as it is is from my home in FL. During that year I was able to visit with my grandparents 2 times. I have the most precious of my grandson(18 months old at the time) showing my 97 year old grandma how to play the piano on the iPad! She loved it, she had not been able to play for years because of arthritis and she had always been open to new technology and embracing children & young people. They often hosted youth group gatherings & backyard BBQ’s at their home in NY. I can clearly remember the day we took a computer & set it up at their home, because Grandma wanted to learn how to email & chat with family. There was never anything old about their spirits!!! Grandpa eventually went Home to be with his Savior when he was 3 months shy of his 100th birthday and Grandma went Home several years later at the age of 101!!! Grandma became wheelchair bound after a fall and a broken hip! Although her body was deteriorating her mind never did! The girls at the home loved my grandparents, they even called them Grandma & Grandpa. It was so reassuring to know they were lived where they were truly cared for and they loved their caregivers with the love of Jesus! I have no doubt when we meet again when day, there will many “young” people that were introduced to Christ because my grandparents planted Jesus seed wherever they were! Sometimes it’s difficult to understand new trends and technology, but if we are open to learning and growing, God will bless that and use us for the Kingdom!

  6. Dave Sundberg says:

    John, I heard it said once “How old would you be if you didnt know how old you are?”

    Interesting thought to ponder

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.