A Sidekick's Blog

What Scares Me Most

July 29, 2012
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I’m more scared of growing old, frail, helpless, and dependent than I am of just dying physically and going home to Christ. When I see so very many elderly people turning ornery and selfish; demanding, confused, ultimately caring only about their own whims and selfish demands, I can’t help thinking, “Shoot me if I end up like that!” Becoming a mean, selfish, needy old jerk draining my family’s money and time is worse to my mind than just dying and be remembered as the sweet, thoughtful (and modest) sidekick I am now. I won’t see a doctor unless I’m in profound pain or something, and then I want only relief from pain, not life-extending stuff like drugs to lower cholesterol and whatever else to make me live longer just so I can end up like that.

Granted, many folks age gracefully and admirably. So much so that I wish to be like them if I live so long. They never retire from life even when they’re no longer able to work. They share their wisdom with younger people, volunteer in local charities and missions, and continue being vital and valuable to those around them, contributing in countless ways to their families and communities. But it seems from where I’m sitting that the great majority of old folks don’t age gracefully at all. Too many end up like “Grammy.”

“Grammy” is a life-long Pentecostal, “full of the Holy Ghost and fire,” who is among the most selfish, profane, greedy, cold-hearted people I have ever known. So much for all that “power of the Holy Ghost” in her life. If all that “power” and supposed intimacy with God hasn’t given her better character than that after a lifetime of practicing Pentecostalism, it doesn’t say much for anything she believes. And if the doctrine of sanctification applies to all who love Christ, then either many elderly evangelicals doesn’t really love the Lord at all, or the usual understanding of sanctification is completely false. All I know is, I hope I die quickly, preferably in battle or something, rather than lingering and ending up senile and selfish like my Mom did, and like “Grammy” has. Screw long life! Give me a short life as a good person that folks will remember fondly! I’d rather that my family missed me when I go, than be relieved that their ordeal is finally over and the drain on their lives is finally ended! God help me, I felt just that way when my own Mom finally died and set Dad free to live a real life, rather than be bound to her as a virtual slave, catering to every selfish whim while she mocked his pain and criticized him for being too slow in waiting on her because of his disability. Mom was cruel to him and lived only for her own pleasures and creature comforts ’til the day she died. And all the while claiming Christ as Lord of her life. I may be the only member of my family to admit it, but I’m certain that every one of her kids felt a profound sense of relief and gratitude when Dad’s chains fell off at her death.

And the prospect of my own kids feeling the same way in another 30 years or whatever, scares me more than anything. As a good Calvinist I’m not supposed to believe that people can lose their salvation, but looking at these old life-long “saints” through the eyes of flesh loudly suggests that it’s possible. Is it sinful to pray for a quick and early home-going? My greatest fear is losing my love for Christ and His people, bringing dishonor to my Lord, my Hero, and my family. Destroying the legacy of love I have strived to pass along to my own children. I fear that more than anything! Is that godly fear or ungodly doubt?

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