You’re Never Too Old To Try Something New

Guadelupe Palacios
Guadelupe Palacios was born in a small Mexican village in the state of Chiapas. She grew up without the opportunity to go to school, so she worked at home in the kitchen and garden and then later in the fields. As a young woman, she married and raised six children. For money, she sold chickens, learning math along the way. Years later, after her children were grown and her husband had passed away, she decided it was finally time for her to learn to read and write, so Guadelupe enrolled in a locally sponsored literacy program.
She was 92.
When asked why, after all these years, she wanted to learn to read and write, she replied, “Now I can write notes to my boyfriends.”
Guadelupe did learn to read and write, but she didn’t stop there. Within 4 years, she successfully completed the course work through Middle School. She still wasn’t satisfied.
She searched for a high school equivalency program but found none in Chiapas that were convenient and inexpensive, so in 2018, at the age of 96, she enrolled in the local high school in Tuxtla Gutierrez. She has a goal of graduating by the time she turns 100. She dreams of continuing her education and becoming a Kindergarten teacher.
You’re never too old to learn something new.
Guadelupe isn’t alone in her late bloomer efforts:
  • Susan Boyle was 47 when she entered Britain’s Got Talent.
  • Julia Child didn’t publish her first cookbook until she was 50.
  • Vera Wang didn’t enter the fashion industry until she was 40.
  • Colonel Sanders didn’t franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was 62.
  • Stan Lee didn’t publish her first comic book until he was 39.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t publish her first novel until she was 65.
  • Grandma Moses didn’t begin painting until she was past 75.
What about you? Do you have a desire (or need) to take a course, learn a new skill, travel to a new place, or study a new language? Have you ever thought, as I have, “That’s crazy. I’m too old to try that. Why would I even let a foolish notion like that enter my mind?”
I can almost guarantee that 99% of us reading this blog are not as old as Guadelupe Palacios.
You’re never too old to try something new.

Remedy For The Funk

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Every so often, I get into a funk.
Not the kind of funk where someone says, “Oh, look at his dance moves.” I’m talking about a dark, dank mood filled with thoughts of despondency.
You know what it’s like. You start off fine and before you know it you’re completely consumed in the miry muck of self-pity. You try to pull yourself out but then, before long, you realize you’ve grown accustomed to your self-created sea of dejection.
When that happens, I abandon everything that’s important. I lose sight of how much I love my wife, my family, my work, and my life. And often, I clean forget about the grace, mercy, and direction of the Lord.
And then, I come across a story and poem like this one and I remember Jesus. I remember what’s He’s done for me and who I am in Him. It awakens my gratitude for the Lord, for others around me, and helps me takes steps toward an acceptable mood.
Six week old Fanny Crosby lost her sight in 1820 due to a doctor’s mistake. As she grew, she learned to function as a child and she later thrived as an adult, eventually became well known for her writing of poetry and hymns.
One day, she was in desperate need of $5.00, so she prayed. Shortly thereafter, a stranger came to her door and handed her the exact amount she needed.
She told others, “I have no way of accounting for this, except to believe that God, in answer to my prayer, put it into the heart of this good man to bring the money. It is so wonderful the way the Lord leads me.”
That same day, Fanny Crosby wrote the following:
All the way my Savior leads me
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His faithful mercies?
Who through life has been my guide.
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort
Ere by faith in Him to dwell
For I know whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.
All the way my Savior leads me
And He cheers each winding path I tread
Gives me strength for every trial
And feeds me with the living bread.
And though my weary steps may falter
And my soul a-thirst may be
Gushing from a rock before me
Though a Spirit of joy I see
And all the way my Savior leads me
Oh, the fullness of His love
Perfect rest in me is promised
In my Father’s house above
When my spirit clothed immortal
Wings it’s flight through realms of day,
This my song through endless ages
Jesus led me all the way.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Broken Zipper, Hidden Fly

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There’s nothing quite so humbling, or humiliating, than to be in church with a broken zipper in your fly.

I had just finished my business in the bathroom and I must have gripped the pull tab of my zipper a little too hard. I zipped up but nothing came together. The glorious unity displayed in the joining together of the metal tangs in my zipper did not take place. My pants were undivided permanently, despite my begging and pleading in the moment.

So, I fastened the top of my pants, praising God there was a button that worked, untucked my shirt and pulled it down as far as possible in the front.

My wife was coming to pick me up on the other side of the church building from where I was, so I had to walk through the crowded common area. I tried my best to be inconspicuous, which is hard to do when you’re the campus pastor walking through a crowd in the church building. I noticed a couple of people looking at me strange and wondered if I was not sufficiently covered. That’s when I realized I was walking all hunched over, trying to give the front of my shirt the slack it needed. So I pulled on my jacket, even though it had turned warm, and zipped up the front to help my situation.

I had just made it to our meeting point when my wife sent me a text telling me she was going to be late.

Sigh.

I quickly found an out of the way chair to sit and wait for her to arrive. I placed my backpack in my lap as if it were a shield. I pulled out a book, and pretended to read, hoping people would catch the understanding that I wasn’t interested in conversation. Suddenly, I was surrounded by friends and church members who desperately needed to talk. One of them even needed prayer. I tried to act casual and asked them to sit across from me so we could informally talk.

Finally, everyone left, and my wife finally arrived.

“Hi,” she said. “Would you like to go out to eat?”

“Ah, no,” I replied.

We read in Proverbs 11:2 that Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

I can say that in the moments of my humility (or humiliation) I was very much aware of my every appearance and interaction with others. I considered every step I took and every word I said with precision and accuracy. I thought more about what the other person heard (and saw) and kept direct eye contact with them as much as possible.

I learned two valuable lessons that day.

  1. Wisdom does come from humility.
  2. I’m keeping an extra pair of pants in my office from now on.