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Our King Complex
When King David was old and well advanced in years? Adonijah? put himself forward and said, "I will be king." I Kings 1.
David was a great King who had ruled Israel with an iron hand for 40 years. But, time had caught up with him. Things the old king use to do, he could not do anymore. And so, the hell hounds came out of the cracks and crevices.
This is an interesting story about David because he had grown old and in his old age he had lost his usefulness as interpreted by others. King David had lost his sexual desire; he had lost his virility, lost his stature, lost his position as being "manly." So his son, Adonijah said, "I'll be king." Daddy isn't what he use to be; he's old, he's senile, he's done with, I'll take over and I'll rule."
Well, when we contemplate our society and nation today, all indications seem to suggest that our usefulness is predicated entirely on our ability to perform. What a sad commentary. It seems as though we have a sort of built in self-destruct mechanism because we in America have made a god out of youth. We have men and women struggling to avoid growing old. Cosmetic surgery has escalated to an almost insane number. We resort to all kinds of strategies: liposuction, implants, diet aids, make-up, anti-aging creams, hair clubs and anything else that promises to keep us young. We want to maintain our youthfulness and vitality.
As a consequence, we have old women running around with young men and old men with young women. Many of us are frantically lost, caught up in the whirlwind of trying to stay young. This is the kind of society we live in. We have made so much ado about age that we have become more and more fearful of the aging process.
Well, when we get there, and if we live we will, the day will come when we will find ourselves in David's shoes. If we hang around, don't go anywhere, stay on the scene of life, we will grow old. We will not be able to perform the way we use to. So the question is, will we too be rejected, cast aside, ignored like most of our seniors today? The day is coming when we will be sitting where David and millions of others have sat. What will be our plight when we too come to the last miles of the way?
Father Time had caught up with David and his son was anxious to get him on out of the way. Isn't it sad how some people will take advantage of the elderly? When you can no longer speak for yourself, think as fast, see as clearly or hear as keenly as you use to, folks will take advantage of your weaknesses.
But before judging too harshly, we must understand that all of us suffer with a king complex. There is a gravitational force from the winds of the world to push the old aside and to become king ourselves. When we see others stumbling, and fumbling and forgetful, the king complex kicks in and we want to push them aside; get somebody who can do it better. We forget, or suppress or deny, that where they are is where we are heading. What we do to them today, others will do to us tomorrow.
Be patient with our seniors. They may not be able to walk, talk see, or hear like they use to, but give them a chance.
Your day is coming!
Rev. Saundra L. Washington, D.D., is an ordained clergywoman, veteran social worker, and Founder of AMEN Ministries. She is also the author of two coffee table books: Room Beneath the Snow: Poems that Preach and Negative Disturbances: Homilies that Teach which can be reviewed on her site. Her new book, Out of Deep Waters: My Grief Management Workbook, is expected to be available soon.
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