Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Our Blessed Elders

Last week I spent some time with three old ladies. My grandmother (aged 80); her older sister and a cousin of theirs. Now of course, these old ladies must not know that I’m referring to them as “old ladies” because this is something that will disturb them, and with their hectic social calendar and constant outings, they make me sound like the “old lady”. As my grand aunt put it; “please call us ‘senior citizens’ that sounds so much better”!

Well anyway, times with them are always; well... let’s just say it’s interesting! You see, these old ladies always have a funny story to relate, and the way they communicate with each other is a story on its own. In one conversation they would have spoken about fifty years of things that have happened. You know, this one who married that one’s daughter and then their child married so and so and this one was related to that one, and it goes on and on until me, as an outsider feels so confused that my head begins to hurt. So many people, so many families, so many experiences, sometimes it seems that they know the whole of Johannesburg... I’m sure you can all relate to the stories of old people.

The thing is though, that every single time I’m with these old ladies, I am reminded of their value and just how much I can learn from them. Now, they may not know how to use an ATM (even if you keep showing them), and cellphones and computers may seem alien to them, and don’t even think about trying to explain to them what the internet is because it will leave them befuddled, to say the least. But these women have so much more knowledge than any of this. This is knowledge that cannot be ‘googled’ , it cannot be found in any book or any television programme (even if it is something educational). This is knowledge that comes with experience (80 whole years of experience!).

The amazing thing is that from their various experiences these ladies can teach you practical knowledge, things that can help make your life easier, and they do this in the most simple of ways. These are women who have not being spoilt by throwaway nappies (diapers), or washing machines. They had to suffer through many hardships in life and they had to do their own work, and because they were not spoon fed in life, they’ve learnt little ways to make life easier and they’ve learnt how to save things instead of being wasteful.

Another thing I was reminded of last week is that Allah truly and surely accepts the prayers of the elderly. It is Allah who takes special care of all their affairs and gives them exactly what they need. It is Allah who sustains them and helps them, and although Allah Almighty is the Sustainer of every single person, it just seems to me that Allah has special mercy towards the Old, or I should say; “the Senior Citizens”.

So, the lesson I’ve learnt is that I should be spending more time with the elderly, because although they can leave you feeling confused and lost, they also have a lot to teach (far more than people give them credit for), also if they make a prayer for you, Insha’Allah Allah Almighty will readily accept it, and the cherry on the top is that Allah (SWT) will give you so many blessings for this!

Now I think all of you may want to go out there and spend some time with the old people in your own families, and if you have no old people in your family, then go out there and find some old people in your community, because although we all think that old people need us, the real truth is that we are actually in need of them!!!

May Allah Almighty be with all of our old people, keep them safe, make easy their difficulties, sort out their affairs and most of all, May Allah (SWT) continue to bless them in abundance!!!

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