I recall as a small boy from the age of six or seven knowing how to shine my own shoes. Since that time, the only time I remember paying for a shoeshine was in Haiti and then only to help an industrious village youth trying to make a few gourdes.
Independence is probably a fault of mine. I had rather do something myself than to ask someone to do it. This has been one of my faults in life, not delegating tasks.
Now that I am creeping up toward seven decades of living, old age is not very appealing to me, especially for someone who shines his own shoes.
Thank God, I am quite active and able to do most of what I want and need to do. Yet, I catch people treating me different. Old men must look vulnerable like small boys to the young and limber. Folks assume you are a little dense even though you can still shine your own shoes.
We old geezers have already accumulated and forgot more than the TikTok-ers think they know. They most likely have never even polished their own shoes. Most would have to go on YouTube to get the lid off a container of Kiwi shoe polish.
I understand, we are a little slow in bringing the water bucket of knowledge out of the deep well. The name or word will come into our consciousness by the time the sun sets. We just have so many terabytes on our hard drive and our processor is accustomed to working with megabytes. We have downloaded too much while we were out on the front porch polishing our shoes.
We wear bifocals, progressive lens, and/or prisms in our glasses. The lens may look a little thick and cloudy, but we still see the nuanced smirks of the ‘The Young and the Restless’. Our eyes were once great but faded with use and too much sun. We are not blind, often we catch a reflection of ourselves in our spit-shined toes (yes, that is a genuine method of shine).
Someone said that independence is taken not given. We are not waiting around to die, nor are we ready to hoist the white flag of surrender. Our journey has taken us down many dusty roads, and we have kicked our share of jagged rocks. At the end of the day, we can still shine the scarred leather of our shoes without instruction or assistance.
Jesus foretold Peter’s death at His post-resurrection breakfast by the seashore with His disciples. Tradition has it that Peter was crucified upside down by request as he felt unworthy to die like Jesus. I was struck by Jesus’ words to Peter, “when you were younger…but when you are old.” Peter died as a martyr not as one who surrendered. I suppose there is a message in there somewhere! Live to you die following Jesus and go out on His terms.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish. / This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me’” (Jesus to Simon Peter, John 21:18-19 NKJV).
Still on the Journey,
Harry L. Whitt