There is a truth we don’t think about when we’re young

I guess it’s too easy to ignore…

how youth will win some early battles in life…

but age will win the war. 


It’s inherent in our destiny…because every night we turn a page

and youth, felt only moments ago, cedes another day to age.


Because life is a constant struggle between age and youth…until…

age proves itself triumphant…as age forever will.


But there are moments as we grow older…we never know where or when…

That age consents to step aside and allow youth to return again…


Moments that seem to slow down in a life that can often blur…

Moments when youth revisits to remind us who we were…


Like when a Grandpa holds his grandson…even for a little while

and we see a gleam in Grandpa’s eyes and youth in Grandpa’s smile.


It’s as if in that one moment…from when that moment first began..

The youth, inherent in the child, is transmitted to the man…


Yes, if growing old is our destiny…isn’t it nice to know this truth…


That age at times can be magnanimous and cede a moment back to youth.

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“Old man, what are you doing?” I asked 

somewhat impetuously.

“You sit and stare out that window all day.

Tell me, what can a blind man see?”


“My eyes haven’t always been blind.” he said

“They were once as sharp as they are green...

And though it’s true they no longer function.

My mind remembers what they’ve seen.”  


“Here at the window I feel the sun and the cold...

I hear the wind and the rain...

I let them stir my memories...

and it’s as if I can see again.”


“I remember seeing birds of every color, 

seeing stars shoot across that sky...

seeing ladybugs land on my finger, 

watching the flight of a butterfly.”


“I’ve watched the sun rise and paint the morning

I’ve seen it bid adieu

I’ve watched the leaves of an old oak tree

drip with morning dew.”


“I’ve watched a summer shower.

I’ve seen the wind blow through the trees

I’ve watched the garden flowers 

be frequented by the bees.”


“What can a blind man see? you ask

Son, let me give you some advice...

One doesn’t need his eyes,” he smiled

“To look back on paradise.”


“That’s why I stare out this window all day

Even though my eyes have failed me?

Because within my mind...

inside my heart…


there’s so much I can see.”

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Every stage of life is distinctive…from birth until we’re grown

Each one carries with it a beauty all its own…


But getting older is something special…

it’s like your life is one continuous song

and all the ages you’ve ever been…

are in the chorus…and sing along.


You know you’re getting older…the proof is written on your face

But then something unexpected happens that makes the years erase…


And youth begins to sing out loud…and you smile for you know

you are as young in that one moment…as you were, once, long ago…


A pair of sunglasses found in the park, left behind by a girl at play

I put them on..I sat in a swing…and the years just slipped away…


I found myself in a different time…I’m not sure where or when…

A time I was a child…on the playground once again…


I left her sunglasses in the park and as we walked away

I noticed another man put them on…then he, too, began to play.


I’m glad I happened on those sunglasses…I will always be in their debt

for reminding me no matter how old I am…there’a a lot of youth left in me yet!


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“Honey!” he said carrying an old album, “let’s go back and remember when…”

She gasped to herself as he opened it, “I was so much younger then.


“Look how beautiful I used to be…and I’d sure like to know”

“As I’ve gotten older…where did my beauty go?”


“Oh I beg differ.” He smiled. “For this beauty you’re talking about

has never shown from outward in…it flows from inward out.”


“The same beauty I see in these old photos, still fills my heart with sighs…

It radiates from your heart…your soul…it’s reflected in your eyes.”


“What makes you beautiful today is something time cannot destroy…

It’s how you live each moment…It’s the way you fill your life with joy. “


“I think beauty is like the seasons and it’s not until we’re fully grown

that we realize each season of life…has a beauty all it’s own.” 


“It’s true you’re not as beautiful as in this photograph array…

that would be impossible…because you become more beautiful every day.”


“So as we turn these pages…as we stop along the way…

Remember you were only younger then…you‘re much more beautiful today.”


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She climbed into the cab of a backhoe…you wouldn’t know she was 64.

Because there are times and places and moments…

age doesn’t matter anymore.


She has a friend, she’s had forever, who’s off in Switzerland…on a cruise.

Who seemed to get just as excited…over a pair of vegan shoes.


Still another friend they’ve shared since the time they all were three…

gets that same expression every time she hugs a tree.


As I watched her yesterday…I was immediately stung…

by how our bodies may get older…but it’s our hearts that keep us young…


And I made this revelation …that for all…should be foretold:

If you can stay excited over little things…you never will grow old!


If walking on a starlit night sometimes make you cry.

If you can stop whatever your doing…just to watch a butterfly.


If you still skip stones whenever you come across a river or a lake.

If you stick out your tongue in winter…to catch a cascading snowflake.


If the aroma of chocolate chip cookies makes you want to linger for awhile…

If listening to a chorus of birds…can still cause you to smile…


Perhaps we are like those trees her friend hugs…

our outside ages…yet deceives…

For inside we are constantly renewing…

and everyday we grow new leaves…


New leaves that get excited over backhoes…

over vegan shoes and hugging trees…

New leaves that will keep us forever young


until there’s nothing more to see.

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I remember getting glasses…and feeling so sublime.

I was in the second grade…seeing the world for the first time.


But my eyesight gets a little worse each year…a fact I can’t ignore.

I was 7 years old back then…today I’m sixty-four.


So when I picked up my new glasses yesterday…as I am wont to do.

I put them on my face…and I marveled at the view.


The world was bright and beautiful…so much clearer than before…

and I smiled until I saw my reflection…in the mirror on the door.


I couldn’t believe my eyes!  I was so much older than before!

I’m sure I didn’t look this old…in the last pair of glasses that I wore.


So I quickly ran and got my old glasses…and I was glad to see

a younger man was in the mirror…staring back at me.


So now I have two pair of glasses…one for seeing the world clearer…


and one I put on anytime…I’m looking in a mirror.

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She crawled into my lap…We were sharing the same space

when she rubbed her tiny fingers across the wrinkles on my face.


“Why do people grow old?” she asked. 

“Will I ever be as old as you?”

She put her little hand in mine…

“Will I have wrinkles too?”


Growing old is a gift, I said…I wouldn’t be too concerned,

for every day you grow a little older…

is a chance to live…

to love… 

to learn.


Our world is filled with many miracles…some are big and some are small

With so many miracles out there…we need time to see them all.


That tree you love to climb out back is as old as it is long.

If it wasn’t old you couldn’t climb it…

because it’s branches wouldn’t be strong.


And the bark you love to feel…means it’s growing old gracefully

for the bark is nothing more…than the wrinkles of the tree.


As you grow older don’t be afraid of wrinkles…

Be glad you’ve acquired some,

for wrinkles only go to show

how wise you have become.


Don’t ever worry about growing old, I said…

Grow old with some affection.

And don’t think of it as growing old…


think of it as aging to perfection.

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I am not a fashionista…

which perhaps you might have guessed.

But my clothes are usually neat and clean…

and I try to look my best.


The other day, however, I learned a little of what fashion’s all about

when my wife and I stopped at the bank and she whispered…

“Jim…your shirts on inside out.”


I quickly assessed the situation…and darned if she wasn’t right.

I looked for sympathy from the teller…but she was chuckling at the sight.


In a failed attempt to rescue my pride…I seized my only chance.

“Oh, it’s not inside out.” I said, “it’s how they’re wearing shirts in France.”


“Ho, ho…thees will be the style zoon.” I said in my best French pantomime.

“Inside out! ooh la la and sacre bleu…I’m just ahead of my time.”


I think I had the men convinced

but the women were looking at me strange…

then the teller leaned over and whispered,

“We have a bathroom where you can change.”


So I smiled, stood up proud and tall…and without making a sound

Walked into the bathroom…and turned my shirt around.


Perhaps one day the fashion world…will understand what I’m about…


until then I will acquiesce…and wear shirts right side out. 

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