North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    There once was a man of amazing accomplishment and his name was Norman Meeker. He had a quick wit and was fleet of foot. Born in 1928 in Indiana, he graduated as Salutatorian of his high school. Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Army in 1948 and served in the recon platoon of the 89th Medium Tank Battalion during the Korean War. He earned a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart during his service. While he was stationed in Japan, he met his future bride. They married and returned to the states in 1951. After graduating from Purdue University, and retiring as a college administrator, his family moved to Gulf Breeze, Florida. He was a man of true grit, but also appreciated the finer things in life. He and his wife enjoyed tennis, ballroom dancing, and attending opera performances. 

    Norman passed away a few months ago at the age of 89, but I remember the first time I met Norman at the Pensacola Senior Games Track and Field Meet where my father was competing. Although in an older age group than my Dad, they enjoyed the camaraderie and competitive nature of running track. As track meet director, I had the good fortune to interact with the senior athletes and enjoyed every conversation I had with Norman. Learning of his military experience, I listened intently as he shared with me how, in the past, many times young army soldiers were committed to action (deployed) with limited training. He said it was resilience that enabled him and his fellow soldiers to prevent the North Koreans from taking over South Korea. No doubt his resiliency carried over into his senior years. He won innumerable gold medals in the 100m, 400m, and 800m events. He maintained his fitness so well; at one time he recorded the second fastest time in the world for the 400m (1:22.05) individual event for 80-year-olds.

     It’s easy to determine God is not only no respecter of persons; He’s no respecter of age brackets! He loves, uses, and honors the aged as notably as He uses the young. We not only live in the age of youth, but of the experienced and aged as well. With a large review of the centuries, its revealed God has used people of advanced years to accomplish some of his His most remarkable purposes.

    Even though you may have retired from the activity in which you earned your livelihood, the possibilities of usefulness, happiness, and contribution still available to your life are limitless. Encourage one another with this good news! 

    You’re never too old to learn, to grow, and to contribute. Don’t rail and wail at the world for not giving you a place. Make a place for yourselves. Many have continued as much as possible, as long as possible the activities of their preretirement years. A ninety-six year old once said, “When life ceases to be learning, it ceases to be living.” I believe there lies, within each community, a potential group of retired people awaiting the initiation of some senior citizens who will stop regarding age as a hardship and who will “wake up and live”.

     A few things can help an aging person find a new purpose. The first is attitude. On the basis of positivism versus negativism the retired person can chose between continuation of a full life and the tragic state of stalemate. An attitude of positivism, a forward look, enthusiasm, and a zest for new experiences can make of any older person a youthful soul. We all must live our life and forget our age.

    Adjustability is the second determinant stressed by successful senior citizens. I like to think I have a youthful spirit, but I will turn 50 this year and it’s a natural fact I can’t run as fast as I did at 30. But, I still run—not as far, not as fast. The Bible says, “For in Him (God), we live and move and exist” (Acts 17:28). When you age, there are simply some things you have to leave behind. That’s life. All of life is readjustment. Life is always changing for us. 

    In addition to attitude and adjustability, many still-growing senior citizens participate in activity continuation; keeping alive intellectually, keeping resilient through activities suitable for their ages. There’s also advancement—the expanding of the scope of interest and friendships in a more relaxed manner than in the busy career days prior to retirement. And finally, there’s the application of a sense of humor , which in our silver and golden years, will be health to our soul.

     A 92 year-old businessman was advised by his doctor that the time had come in which he must slow down somewhat. To which the aged gentleman said, “What? And be hit by a taxi cab?” His sense of humor was a bright light for himself and those around him.

     A dear great-grandmother of advancing years worked a hard life on a farm, mothered fourteen children through wars, financial panics, and multiple difficulties, but she never ceased to be the life of any group in which she was present. She lived and moved with laughter in her heart.

    Norman Meeker, retired U.S. Army Veteran, and award-winning senior sprinter, was quoted as saying, “I keep telling people, I just hope my story will be an inspiration to other seniors. Keep moving and keep living.” 

    Allow me to close with this verse: “Age is a quality of mind. If you have left your dreams behind, if hope is lost, if you no longer look ahead, if your ambitions fires are dead; then you are old. But, if from life you take the best, and if in life you keep the jest, if love you hold, no matter how the years go by, no matter how the birth days fly; you are not old!”


• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s the author of the following books: “Living With Purpose (Volume’s I, II, III, and IV)”; “Loving Others With Purpose” and “Running With Purpose”; He can be reached by email:

Posted by on Feb 17 2019. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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