On Growing Old

This morning  I read a masterly poem on growing old, ”Rabbi Ben Ezra” by Robert Browning, a British poet (1812-1889). It’s worth reading the whole poem (https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/rabbi-ben-ezra), but below three verses.

A few remarks in advance. Don’t mind when youth has ended, or do you still prefer the outer man above the inner man, or immaturity above maturity? We may prefer the younger body, but remember, the wasting away of the outer paves the way for the renewal day by day (2 Cor. 4:16). Youth shows but the half, and the ashes show that the any gold has survived. So the supreme question in your and my life is: “On which foundation do you build your life?

For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw  – each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward” (1 Cor. 3:11-14).

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith, ‘A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be  afraid!’

Youth ended, I shall try
My gain or loss thereby;
Leave the fire ashes, what survives is gold:
And I shall weigh the same,
Give life its praise or blame:
Young, all lay in dispute; I shall know, being old.

For, note when evening shuts,
A certain moment cuts
The deed off, calls the glory from the grey:
A whisper from the west
Shoots—‘Add this to the rest,
Take it and try its worth: here dies another day.’

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