Better with Age?

New or old we live before the face of God.

Here we go again! Last month we columnists were told that the Christmas issue was themed “In Praise of Broken Things”; a crazy topic until I thought about it some more. This month it’s “Better with Age.”

Better with age? Tell that to my creaky 76-year-old knees, or my wife’s 23-year-old Honda Civic. New and improved is where it’s at. Who isn’t in favour of the new over the old? Wouldn’t you rather have a new car than an old one? A new smart phone instead of that old rotary phone? A new (fill in the blank) instead of that old (fill in the blank)? But then I began to think again.

My favourite things

I love to share a glass of well-aged wine with a few old friends. It’s fun to share memories as we look through our photo albums featuring familiar old places we visited together many years ago. Crackers and old cheddar cheese go well with the wine and, as the conversation turns to music, we put on some records with familiar old songs or the classic Mozart. Soon my 190-year-old Frisian wall clock strikes 10 o’clock. The friends leave and I have a small glass of well-aged port with my wife of 48 years. Before turning in for the night, I scan the collection of books on my shelves and randomly pull down an old King James Version Bible with an inscription on the fly leaf from my dear departed parents congratulating me and wishing me God’s blessings on my graduation from university in 1967.

I pull on some comfortable old PJs and slip into bed beside Louisa and think back on old times, like excavating dinosaurs in Alberta’s “Badlands” in the 1960s. What a great summer job! (Have I forgotten the sometimes-unbearable heat and whining mosquitos?) I think back on the birth of three children, two healthy, and one with a seriously wonky heart. That causes me to think of open-heart surgeries with all the prayers and worries occasioned thereby. And I know there will need to be another valve replacement soon. That one will occur with a catheter running through an artery thereby eliminating the need for another cracking of the sternum. And suddenly I’m incredibly happy about new advances in heart surgery. I’m also happy about three healthy, little grandsons who bubble over with new energy and young lives full of promise. I fall asleep.

Coram deo

There is new snow on the ground in the morning and the world looks clean and bright. Louisa and I have a simple breakfast together and we thank God for the new day. New or old we live Coram Deo (before the face of God) whose old promises of grace are new every morning. Old and new. Neither better or worse than the other. It all depends on how you look at it or, better yet, how God looks at it.

I hope you experienced the past (old) year as a blessing, and I wish you a new year filled with grace and peace.


  • Bob Bruinsma

    Bob is a retired Professor of Education (The King’s University) living in Edmonton.

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