“Usetacould” is evidently one of those Texan colloquialisms containing more commentary than definition. It betrays a longing for the days of youth when weaknesses of the body did not plague production. A friend described the change as the lifting of a 5-gallon bucket into the pickup bed going from a one-step lift and jerk to a multi-step grunt, struggle, heave, shove and snort that included lowering the tailgate. Also, there exists a sense of the measured loss of satisfaction once enjoyed that has now decidedly diminished by the restrictions of age; driving a golf ball barely half the distance one once could takes some of the joy out of the sport but not being able to see the teed-up ball is downright annoying. And then, there is the memory issues, but I can’t remember those.
The unfortunate side-effect to this resignation to “father time” is the sense that one’s value diminishes proportionally. Even our society (who sees fit to murder its unborn) has become jaded enough to suggest (and even legislate) that a supposed social uselessness (which includes aging) is sufficient cause to euthanize the burden. The Bible begs to differ!
We are, after all, made in the image of God. The human being has a divine value that far surpasses any other created creature’s status. Further, the Bible frequently speaks of the enduring and lasting value of the aged. “You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:32). “The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness” (Proverbs 16:31). Also, wisdom (one of the most highly valued attributes of the child of God) is characteristically attached to the aged (Job 12:12).
Perhaps, in spite of the physical difficulties, Christians should welcome changes that place us closer to Heaven. Our value is not diminished by age but, rather, enhanced; there is work for the Silver Citizens of the Kingdom. No, as we age, we cannot do what we “usetacould,” however, other doors open and, maybe, just maybe, a more deeply spiritual avenue of service will present itself. “My son, hear the instruction of your father, and do not forsake the law of your mother; for they will be a graceful ornament on your head, and chains about your neck” (Proverbs 1:8-9).