A rivet for the wrinkled
“My face is not that beautiful. Still, try your best when you take my photo. But, please don’t polish those wrinkles off my face. Those are the assets of my life so far”, these are the words lord Roberts said to the photographer who came to take his old-age photo. These words echo a wisdom that the marks of old-age are the riches you gained of your years-long travel along the paths of life. Proud words like these that weigh so much with courage and hope are hardly heard from the aged people. For those who do not curse the dusk of life, but take it as yet another chance to race ahead afresh, they possess a young heart at old age. Among the senile youth, they will live as youth in old age.
There are four pieces of advice normally given to make the dusks of life lively.
1) Accept the reality. Old-age is an inevitable stage of living. Do not deny or escape. Face it matured.
2) Maintain the flame of youth inside. Keep up the vigor and vibrance. So goes an old saying; ‘I am a seventy years old youth’. This life can’t wane with disgruntle and nonchalance, but catalyzed with hopes and dreams, it should shine bright. The trembled lines fell from the pen of an old prisoner reads like this; “forgetting the passed by time, I live in the dreams about days to come”.
3) Inspire yourself to engage in service and virtuous deeds. Do not think that everything is over. There was a study done on different people who had their bestachievements in their old age. That study says that people above sixty and seventy can perform actively in their pursuit. Mr Gladstone could become the prime minister of England when he was 83. Michelangelo portrayed his world famous piece, ‘The Last Judgement’, when he was sixty-six. And there are a lot of such people who has done an astonishing performance in their old age.
4) While passing by the milestones of life one by one, we must foresee death, the inevitable exit that we have to make from this world, and the honour awaits us hereafter. There was a noted prayer of an aged man. It should etch in indelible ink in our life diary. The prayer goes like this; “My Lord, You know better than me that I am reaching the evening of my life. I pray you to save me from falling in love with talkativeness, save me from the false notion that I can intervene and solve everyone’s problems. Make me thoughtful, and help me to find good friends, and benefit from the knowledge you gave me even in the last days of my life too. Make my words straight and clear, so that I don’t make things intricate or elaborate. Help me to controle my tongue from blabbing about my pains and pathosis, for the more I plunge into it, the more the tendency to talk about them. Give me a mind to patiently listen to others too. Make me complacent with my life. Help me to nurture the good things about life and hold fast tothem”.
A consistent vitality is what makes old-age and life as a whole beautiful. Those who possess a consistently vital mind, only they can stand strong in the storms of adversity, unshaken, undaunted. There is a difference between a hundred meters sprinter and a marathon runner. The sprinter of short distance wins if he races up in the first pounce whereas a marathon runner wins because of his consistency and determination to keep running. Our life is a marathon, until a finishing point we do not know. And the secret of success there is the determination to run ahead, afresh always.
Qur’an inspires us for this consistent vitality. Qur’an introduces us to Zakariyya (A) who prays to Allah with hope even in his gray days, Ibrahim (A), who shines like a revolutionary star even at the dusk of his life, Ayyob (A), who fights his way out with patience and prayers from the murky tumult of ailment and destitute, Ya’kuub (A), who reign in his despair with hope and faith in his Lord and so many such great souls.
They say “you can not control the length of your life, but you can control its breadth, depth and height”. The aged deserve respect. Youth must collect the pebbles from the lives of the aged. Let the old age be graced with virtuous thoughts and good deeds. Remember, “It’s better to wear out than to rust out!”
English rendering of article written by Abdul Wadud
Translated by Noufal PT