Having spent nine years working for Age Concern I feel just a little qualified to know something about growing older – and according to Age Concern you are an older man when you reach the age of 50! Now before you start complaining, I did not say OLD – I said OLDER! Older is a relative term used purely to distinguish you from someone who is younger.
Sadly, however, it was always hard to engage with older men. Even when events were specifically designed for them, very few seemed to attend. Does that say something about how independent we men like to think we are? How solitary? How self-assured?
This being said, it is interesting that our CVM group here in Northumberland attracts high numbers of older older men – repetition intended! Many of these men live alone and are less able to get out and about on their own. However, good friends and neighbours bring them along to our regular breakfast meetings and, although having led lives of independence, they are welcoming being included and are open to talk about spiritual matters.
I often wonder about the age profiles of other CVM groups around the country. Sometimes I get the impression that we are a ‘young guys’ movement, which is brilliant – reaching men in the younger bracket. But are we missing out on having a word to say and a message to deliver to older men? Men who may be considering more ‘end-of-life’ issues? Men who are still looking for what life – real life – has to offer.
After all, when Jesus said that he had come to bring life in all its fullness, I am sure he meant it to include those living in the fullness of years.