By, Rev. Howard C. Earle, Jr., D.Min.
Have you ever recalled a random fact that you picked up somewhere that became useful? One day I happened to be watching a documentary on a particular military vehicle called the hovercraft. It turns out the hovercraft design was inspired by the reversal of airflow on a Hoover vacuum cleaner. Fast forward maybe a year from this documentary and now I’m sitting in my sixth-grade science class. The trivia question for the day was about a military vehicle designed from the vacuum cleaner. Can you imagine the amazement of both me and the class when I gave the correct answer to this question? Keep your mind “spongy” because you never know when the random facts you pick up may come in handy.
How about another random fact from my collection? Did you know there are certain species of sharks that must swim continuously otherwise they drown? Now you do. Sharks must keep oxygen-rich water flowing over their gills. This is achieved by the constant movement through the water. I bet you’re wondering what random facts about vacuums, military vehicles, and sharks have to do with your life. I’m so glad you asked. Of all the metaphors and images used to describe life, it probably isn’t often that your life is likened to that of a shark. But I tell you it is. Storied American entertainer, Dick Van Dyke, has a career spanning seven decades. In 2016, at ninety years old, he published a book entitled, “Keep Moving.” According to Van Dyke, “There is no such thing as ‘age appropriate.’” I agree with Dick and believe that life should be lived to the fullest; savoring every moment, regardless of what the calendar says.
“Keep Moving!” That was our mantra in a recent Nobody Asked Me group. Our discussion revolved around “agency” which is action or intervention, such as to produce a particular effect. Senior living has gotten a bad rap. This season of life is often associated with sickness, diminishment, confinement, and loneliness. However, I have discovered that it is anything but! To describe aging people in such terms is to rob them of agency and choice. In my role as chaplain, I have the distinct privilege to be our residents’ biggest cheerleader. From the sidelines, each week I am cheering you on to stay in the game and keep moving! You’re a shark! For obvious reasons, movement in this season doesn’t look like what it used to. But, move you must. Maybe you can’t move as fast or travel as far, but there are still moves to be made. Consider yourself an explorer and every day is a new adventure. You get to decide how far and how deep you go. Explore new interests! Take up a new hobby! Make new friends! Watch different shows! Change your routine! Try different restaurants and meals! You’re alive so live!
“You don’t have to act your age. You don’t even have to feel it. And if it does attempt to elbow its way into your life, you do not have to pay attention. If I am out shopping and hear music playing in a store, I start to dance. If I want to sing, I sing. I read books and get excited about new ideas. I enjoy myself. I don’t think about the way I am supposed to act at my age – or at any age. As far as I know, there is no manual for old age. …When people ask my secret to staying youthful at an age when getting up and down from your chair on your own is considered an accomplishment, you know what I tell them? ‘Keep moving.’” -Dick Van Dyke
Join us Monday at 2:00 p.m. on the Vistas Patio or Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. in the Chapel for more adventure and discussion.