Being Ninety and Disabled with Advantages

Speaking at College Hill Mennonite Church, Tampa, Florida

It occurs to me that I am old and disabled with advantages. I have a woman friend with whom I share, and we confidently made the decision not to marry. We agree that our friendship and our singleness is an advantage. She went with me to have my eyes examined expecting to help me choose new glasses. She wants the shape and color of the glasses to enhance my appearance.  I am primarily concerned that I see. But appearances are important.  Having such a friend is to my advantage.

My Friend and I enjoy reading the novels on my kindle. The climatic two chapters of a fictional story of love and faith which we just finished reading had us laughing and crying. Our pastor told his congregation that reading fiction makes us more empathetic to others.  Having a kindle to download books for our enjoyment and growth is an advantage.

My New Sister

A woman who eats at a table near me in the dining room overheard me say that I only had one brother and no sisters, and that I had been looking for a sister all my life. She said, “I will be your sister!” Her name is Ramona. We found that a few people  she knew in Michigan I had learned to know in Florida. Having gained a sister in my ninetieth year is an advantage.  She has a tender heart and a sensitive conscience.

An Elkhart County music teacher was invited to bring 15 fourth grader students to our men’s fellowship to demonstrate their skills.  In the El Sistema system of teaching she uses ukuleles and recorders as instruments to enhance social skills.  Get a “ted talk” by clicking  here  that shows how the brain lights up when a student plays an instrument.  Perhaps previous generations of Mennonites would have developed better social skills if they had promoted more use of instruments in their congregations.

Today’s email brought Goshen College Bulletin Points. The college is offering a new  minor on teaching the El Sistema system to future music teachers.  The release also offers an encounter with Sarah Thompson, director of Peacemaker Teams.  Her MLK day speech was interrupted by a heckler, and Sarah gave a live demonstration of a non-violent response.  That alone makes her speech worth listening to.  Click here and learn from this powerful human speech.

Life lived is living
peace with friends and enemies
by returning good

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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4 Responses to Being Ninety and Disabled with Advantages

  1. Freda Zehr says:

    Dear Martin, I am so happy for you that you have found such a wonderful companion to share your life with at this age. I would love to find that kind of relationship but have come to the conclusion that is not in the cards for me! I always read and love your honest writings, but often I do not tell you so—-so I am telling you now!

    • Martin Lehman says:

      Freda, this may be the time to tell you that when I became lonely and before Joyce and I had met, I said to myself “I wish Freda Zehr were not so far away. I think she and I could be friends.” I still think so! – Martin

  2. Freda Zehr says:

    Thanks for those thoughts Martin, I know we would be friends. You know I hate to admit it, but I still have not gone through all those old videos of the ones we took at the Mennolink reunion that one year when Rhoda was still living and Vernon had taken a video of your whole family. I forget which of your children were with you that day, with some of the grandchildren. One of these days I must get them out and sorted through. I want so much to do it while you can still enjoy seeing them. I do miss the old Mennolink days!

  3. Freda Zehr says:

    As I reread the above post I had written, Martin, I want to change one statement. I said, “I know we would be friends”. What I should have said, is, “we are friends indeed, though far apart in distance, but close in heart. and I am blessed to have known you and to call you Friend”!

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