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Gray is the New Green

Posted November 14, 2012 in Altoona, Advice Column, Ankeny, Pleasant Hill

I recently came across a comment from the famous author James Michener about why he continued to write well into old age. He said:

“When I was 45, a farmer living at the end of our lane hammered eight nails into an aging, unproductive apple tree. That autumn a miracle happened. The tired old tree produced a bumper crop of juicy red apples. When asked how this happened, the farmer explained, ‘Hammering rusty nails gave it a shock to remind it that its job is to produce apples!’ ”

Michener continues, “In the 1980s when I was nearly 80, I had some nails hammered into my trunk — heart surgery, vertigo, a new left hip — and like a sensible tree, I resolved to bearing fruit.”

Those nails will come to all of us as we travel down the path of life — and wouldn’t it be amazing to think that from those trials, we, too, could bear fruit?

It sounds to me like Michener made a conscious decision to continue doing what he loved, and did it well. He was writing novels up until his death at age 90.

We all have talents and gifts that don’t just disappear as we age. Sure, it might be a little more challenging to do the things we used to, but I think the key here is to continue on as best we can. If you can’t run five miles anymore, walk as far as you can, learn a new skill, take a class, volunteer — challenge yourself.

Share your wisdom and life experiences with others. You can help them, and the younger generation needs to listen.

As we all gather to give thanks this time of year, count the nails in your trunk as a blessing, and challenge yourself to bear fruit at any age.

Let me leave you with these encouraging words:
“Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will be vital and green.”
Psalm 92:14 NLT

Information provided by Shelly Charter, Valley View Village, 2571 Guthrie Ave., Des Moines, 265-2571.

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