Still Full of Sap, Still Green

A mother had shown up with her child, three years old, named, “Heaven.” She had a little toy guitar that she was playing.

“Have you heard of Sister Rosetta Tharpe?” I asked her mother.

“Who’s she?”

“She’s the Godmother of rock and roll. Your daughter there is gonna play like her when she grows up.”

A few of the older guests around nodded their heads.

“I know of her. She was something else.”

“She could sure enough play. Gospel. Blues. Lord, she was good.”

I brought up one of her songs on “You Tube.” So we listened a little while to “Didn’t it Rain?”

“You gotta know your history, little one,” an older guest said to Heaven, who strumming her toy guitar as we listened to Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

“How she gonna know someone so old?” the little girl’s mother sounded incredulous, “Is she even still alive?”

“How old are you?” the older guest asked the mother.

“I was born in 1992. You figure it out.”

“That makes you exactly young,” said another guest, “Shoot. I was already married and working in ’92.”

Others joined in sharing their ages.

“I was born in 1979. I’m pushing 40.”

“I’m forty-three.”

“Fifty-six here, but I feel older.”

And then the older guest who wanted to emphasize knowing history said, “I’m 76.”

We were all astounded.

“What’s your secret?” I asked.

“Ain’t no secret,” he said, “I just keep waking up. Ain’t no special wisdom I have. Sometimes I’d wished I was dead. But I just kept waking up. That’s most of how I’ve kept on livin’. I wake up and get moving.”

“God gets me up every morning,” one of the more pious guests then intoned.

“O yes,” the older guest said, “I know it’s God nudging me, but I’m the one that’s gotta get out of bed. God isn’t going to put my feet on the floor and get me out the door.”

“Well, thank God you made it thus far, then, because without God you’d be done.”

“God’s got my thanks. I know where my life comes from and where I’m going.”

I kept thinking on the music and the ages and the faith I was hearing. So when I was asked a few minutes later for the “Word of the Day,” I turned to Psalm 92 verse 12-15. The Psalm seemed to resonate with the reflections of the morning on age and history and the trajectory of God through our lives.

The just flourish like the palm tree,
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
In old age they still produce fruit;
they are still full of sap, still green,
showing that the Lord is upright;
God is my rock, and there is no injustice in God.

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