No Stuffing Allowed

Photo by Robmania

It wasn’t what we expected.  The ship was full of mostly elderly couples.  There were as many wheelchairs as walkers, yet these couples were full of excitement to be touring New England in the Fall.  As excited as we were, but at a much slower pace.

We found it difficult to slow down at first – every time we tried to go somewhere on board we would invariably get behind a sweet old couple.  We had no choice but to “meander slowly around the ship”.  It was good for us.

I enjoyed observing how they related to one another.  One Asian couple was very small and needed help on the really windy days.  They always walked with her in front of him about 10 paces, but he didn’t seem to mind.  Another couple I observed on the deck one day.  The wife was in her wheelchair facing the ocean while her husband stood behind her brushing her hair.  What a sweet gesture – I wished I had had my camera with me to capture it for you.  Even still it’s a moment I’ll never forget.  However, there were many grumpy people who were never satisfied with the service they received.  Being around them was uncomfortable for us, and embarrassing for those traveling with them.  A stark contrast to the first two couples we mentioned.

The season we came to admire was Fall.  How ironic to be in the Fall of our lives observing those approaching the Winter of theirs.  Yet they were still here enjoying God’s beautiful creation together.  I admire their resolve to stay active.  I admire even more those who were kind and courteous.

Tom and I were sobered by the reality of this season we’ve yet to reach – winter.  We observed stark differences in the elderly around us.  Some were kind and others were just plain nasty.  We talked about how we want to be known for our kindness, not our grumpiness as we age.  We asked ourselves, “What must we do now to make sure we don’t become bitter old people?” The answer we concluded with is to deal with irritations and hurts as they happen.

No stuffing allowed!

It seems those who don’t deal with it when they should are unable to stuff it away as they age.  All self-control is gone and others see clearly what was in their heart all along. The only way we can be sure to grow in kindness is to seek the God who promises to cause this fruit of the Spirit to mature in us as we age.  It is mostly for His glory, but I’m sure those who know us will offer a prayer of thanksgiving too, not to mention the strangers we may cruise with in the future!

About Debi Walter

Tom and Debi have been sharing encouragements through their blogs for many years. Marriage, Reading God's Word and documenting family history is our focus. Growing in our relationship with the Lord is primary in all we say, write or do. We are grateful for all who desire to join us in the same endeavors.
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5 Responses to No Stuffing Allowed

  1. Sharon O says:

    Oh I can so relate. I used to work in a pharmacy and we would have the sweetest seniors come in they were radiant in lifes journey then we would also get the grumpiest old folks. Really caught me off guard at times how grumpy they could be. I understood a pharmacy is where people are picking up meds maybe they don’t feel well or some other reason but the older I get the more I realize there is no reason to be ‘nasty’ in spirit. It is not helpful nor is it nice to be around.


    • Debi Walter says:


      Did you know my Dad was a Pharmacist? I grew up in our family store, and I’m used to the same contrast of old people. There were the characters that you cringed when they walked in the door, and there were the ones you would do anything to help because of their sweet disposition. May God help us be the latter.



  2. Barb M. says:

    My first thought is, “Love ’em both. The grumpy and the sweet.” And let God lead those to Him who probably really need it the most, as it may not be long until they are to be standing before Him. Anyway, I dig our elders, and wish society asa whole would respect and lift them up way more than we do. May God bless them and draw them near to Him in their last seasons.


    • Debi Walter says:

      Well said! Barb! I love taking those who aren’t happy and challenge myself to see if I can’t cheer them up! Thanks for your wise comment!



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