2 Corinthians 4:16 (NIV)
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
It was the first day of school and the professor introduced himself and challenged the class to get to know someone they didn't already know. As one guy stood up and looked around a gentle hand touched his shoulder. He turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at him with a smile that lit up her entire being.
She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty seven years old. Can I give you a hug?"
He laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave him a giant squeeze.
"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" he asked.
She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married, have a couple of children, and then retire and travel."
"No seriously," he asked. Because he was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.
"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm getting one!" she told him.
After class they walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. They became instant friends. Every day for the next three months they would leave class together and talk non-stop. He was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with him.
Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up.
At the end of the semester she was invited to speak at the football banquet and they never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor.
Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said "I'm sorry. I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know."
As they all laughed she cleared her throat and began:
"We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy and achieving success.
"You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!"
"There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty eight. Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability.
The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity in change." "Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."
She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose." She challenged each one to study the lyrics and live them out in their daily lives.
At the years end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.
Dear Lord, we pray that we would we be thankful for the abilities that You give each of us no matter what age we are. We pray that we would take the time to learn from those you bring into our life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.