Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly, and revere your God. I am the Lord.
So this was for my mum 3 years ago but it felt necessary to share with you dear readers especially after the global pandemic.
Sometimes, in the midst of growing up, I forgot that she was growing old. I forgot that she too needed me, just like I needed her when I was going through all of the things life sent my way.
I used to deny it when others told me I was like her. Growing up I didn’t realise how much of a compliment it was to be compared to your parents. Growing up, I took it all for granted, I didn’t see just how much work and compassion went into nurturing and caring for another person. I didn’t see how hard she was trying, I didn’t see how much love she was giving.
As I was thinking of what to say to my mum as she turned 50 I wanted to say, “Thank You. We aren’t perfect, and life hasn’t always been perfect, but at the end of the day, I don’t think any of us know what we’re doing here. I think we’re all just trying to navigate the messiness and the randomness of it all. I understand how difficult that is now. I don’t hold it against you.
Thank You for loving me, especially when I didn’t deserve it, because that is when I needed it the most.
Thank You for always trying to guide me, even if I never listened to your advice. I had to figure things out on my own, but I know now that you were always right, because you always had my best interest at heart.
Thank You for all of the sacrifices you've made. I know you had dreams, and hopes, and things that you, too, wanted to experience. I know that balancing all of that as a parent is difficult. I know it takes a lot of selflessnesses to love someone so deeply, and with so much heart. I can see that now. I understand.
But most of all — Thank You for making me who I am today. I may have denied it then, but I am the person I am today because of You. You have made me stronger. You have made me softer. You have challenged me and made me wiser. All that I am is because of You, and that is something I am proud of. That is something I will embrace.”
In an age where respect is little known and even less practiced, showing honour for those who are older is often overlooked. Yet in this place, by the Lord's own word, showing respect for the elderly ranks right up there with reverencing God. But then we shouldn't be surprised, since God made honoring parents the very first commandment (in the Ten Commandments — Exodus 20) directed at our relationship with others — the first four commandments were directed at our relationship with him!
Holy and Eternal God, thank you for my parents in the flesh and in the faith. Please give those who have been my spiritual mentors a special blessing. Without their guidance, I'm not sure where I would have been today. Help me as I grow older to not only mature but also form into an influential character so that I, too, can guide and uplift others to becoming their true selves. May we, young and old alike, restore dignity and respect to our relationships before you in our generation. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Dedicated to our founder and CEO, Felicia Vundla's mum on her 50th birthday.