“Fulfilling God’s Plan for Our Aging Years”
Episode 46: The Basics of Connecting
There's nothing more essential in life than friendships. The friends you make can determine the direction and quality of your life, even in the later years. In this episode, Hal and Randy talk about how to develop quality friendships that encourage you to finish well!
Dr Randy Hess: 0:08
Hi, everyone. Welcome back to finishing well podcast. This is the podcast for finishing wall ministries. Our objective here is to explore ways that seniors can lead their lives well and more importantly, to finish their life as well. And if you happen to be younger than a senior, let's call you something other than Junior, but under 65. Please know that you are very welcome here as well. And hopefully, you will find it meaningful for for your life. My name is Randy Hess. And I'm very pleased to be back here with Al habecker. The founder of finishing well, ministries, a how it's not the brightest day to day, but it's a good day, no matter what isn't it?
Dr Hal Habecker: 0:58
It is, Randy, this is the day the Lord has made some money team, verse 24, let's take full advantage of this opportunity to encourage each other. Sounds good. Right?
Dr Randy Hess: 1:09
Exactly. We want to do that every day. So how today we're actually going to tackle our key part of something called the six essentials, are we not a key part of it?
Dr Hal Habecker: 1:27
We are Randy, we're kind of reviewing the basics of the six essentials, just reminding us maybe a new twist is many years since we've reviewed these and we just want to update and revisit. You know, like it's like Vince Lombardi said, as he started every football season, he take the team to the center of the football field, it pick up a football and say gentlemen, this is a football. Let's talk about the basics. Yeah, uh, you know, and as we all know, people are sports at any, at any level of life. You want to do the basics well. So this is one of the businesses the second basic of the six essentials. And we want to talk about connecting today.
Dr Randy Hess: 2:11
Yeah, that's a critical element, is it not? In so many ways?
Dr Hal Habecker: 2:17
It is, Randy. You know, there's nothing more essential to life than friendships. I mean, you learn that in a family growing up as a kid, the value of friendships, you go to school, the value of friendships you go through your life, whether it's college, work, whatever, a church friendships are absolutely critical in the development of our lives. And people mark our lives in various ways. And the challenge in aging is that as we age, even at various stages in our last three decades, you know, isolation begins to creep in. It's harder and harder to make new friendships. Like for example, Vicki and I, in the past couple of years, we've just joined a new church and it's harder to develop good friendships, you know, at age 70 in a whole new church than it was when we were 50 or when we were 30. You know, but friendships are really critical and I just like to walk through some basics and let's walk through them together. How does that sound?
Dr Randy Hess: 3:24
Sounds great. Let's do it. Okay,
Dr Hal Habecker: 3:27
in our in our workbook which you can access on our website finishing well ministries dot O, R G, can access accent access, I'm sorry, this six essentials. Let's talk about connecting just in introducing the whole idea of friendships is critically important. Let me give you some examples just in the natural life. You know, an atom is made up of a nucleus and molecules. I mean, nothing exists in the world by itself. The whole idea no man is an island. Nothing in the world is an individual thing all by itself. The cells in the body, the cells I made the new the nuclei and electrons and everything running around it. I love the example of geese flying north or south you know in the seasons, you know, they fly in that V. A classic deal. And when a goose goes down or is injured two or three others dive with it, take care of it. You know, I'm a cyclist, and it makes all the difference in the world whether or not I draft a cyclist ahead of me. You know, we have this picture of peloton and a wind tunnel and the different percentages of energy that is spent bending where you are if you're leading the peloton, you spend 86% of your energy, you know, just facing the headwind, the crosswind, but if you're back in the peloton, you only spend 5% of your energy, the value of friendships is critically important. I don't know of anything, you know, I just think back over my life, you think of the value of friendships. You know, Randy, you and I started a friendship, what, 1012 years ago, I never knew you before. And, you know, God brought you into my life. And it seems like that's critically important, how we value friendships and work out and resist isolation. Correct. So important. So let me just walk through a few core verses, you know, whatever we want to do, and finishing well, ministries, you know, and in our lives, we always want to be anchored in the Word, you know, Thy Word is true, John 1717. Our as a Christian, we follow God through the power of His Word, we follow the Jesus words, we follow the words of Scripture, they're given for our advantage. So just let me reflect on a few of these verses. You know, Proverbs 17 727 17, as a man, As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens the countenance of his friend, you know, it just speaks to the power of friendships, what they do in our lives, they sharpen us, another person is there to help me think better, to help me live better. And yes, it does create friction, you know, I never realized how selfish I was, I got married. And so there's this natural friction that's created in life with a close friendship, because that other person, whether it's you or me, Randy, or our spouses, or whoever, they don't think the same way as we do. So you're always kind of sharpening reviewing everything. But isn't that the power of a friend? And why would we want to stop that value? In our senior years, or as we age, we won would we ready when
Dr Randy Hess: 6:59
we would not? It is just the communication from friends. Is, is uplifting to us on a day to day or however frequently we would discuss things. And you've talked about that a lot. You and I have talked about that a lot with our relationship with each other, and how we get meaning out of it. And you've mentioned that we have friends for various reasons in our lives, you know, maybe partly due to the, to the season, you know, we're in, but we have, I know you have a category called friends, for life. Friends, forever,
Dr Hal Habecker: 7:45
friends, for a season friends for a reason, and yams for light. There
Dr Randy Hess: 7:49
you go. And the friends for life, you know, are so uplifting. If you have those, it's a gift from God to have one or more in your life, is it not. And if you can have those, I think you can feel that no matter what you can discuss things that that are on your mind, and that you would like to simply share with maybe just a few people. And that friend happens to be one of those. So anyway, I'm just saying that that can be such a boost. To know that I have somebody to visit with and talk with about stuff that I don't care to share with the entire world.
Dr Hal Habecker: 8:32
An illustration of that. Vicki is going through her second foot surgery, right now is four weeks yesterday that she had the repeat surgery on her foot to fuse some bones. We had lifelong friends at our house last night for three hours. And we had a fascinating time reviewing the four plus decades of our friendship, you know, talking about issues talking about things we've experienced, talking about things we struggle with, even today, maybe new things. You know, we finished our conversation last night by going around the table and saying, What can I pray for you on? And so the four of us went around the table sharing some things in our own personal lives, you know, and that's the question of friendship, how easily will I share what is going on inside my heart with other friends. So at this season of our age, we're all experiencing new things, new challenges in our lives at our age, and how willing are we to share those kinds of things and grow through those friendships. It's very important in life.
Dr Randy Hess: 9:50
It is how very critical
Dr Hal Habecker: 9:52
you know I think of another verse just two, actually two verses in terms of how we speak out of our lives in developing friendships, Jesus and John 1515 says, I have called you, my friends, or I have told you everything that is in my heart. I think of that as a standard for friendships in this season of life. You know, in the last decade, two decades, three decades following retirement, the challenge we we have are readjusting to a new mission, the you know, aging, all the issues that go with it, do how easily do I share those things with my friends? And how often do we work through them and encourage each other together? I think of Proverbs 1717, A friend loves at all times, but a brother is born for adversity. You know, it's nice to have friends, but a real brother or real sister is there for the challenging times of our lives. How easily do we share those and the importance of that, I mean, we're all growing through difficulties in this season of life. And the scriptures would speak very powerfully, just as Jesus did, to the importance of sharing the essence of our heart, and the struggles that we have the things that we wrestle with, with very, very close friends, is that Does that strike a chord, and you find you and Julie, find the same challenges in your life, Randy,
Dr Randy Hess: 11:29
we do. And actually the same, I guess you'd say encouragement, you know, from friends, Julie, more than myself has, is, as a person who has reached out to many, and has so many close friends, I have quite a few myself. But she sets in my book a bit of a model for me. And, and she is always on the look, or somebody new to be friend, and be there for that person. If the relationship moves that direction, she she allows it to move in a direction where she can listen to them. And remember things that are important to them, and go back and share that with them or give them encouragement when they need it. I just find that to be a great model for me. But what I have to say we're 77 years old, how and around us are people somewhat in our age group? A lot, maybe most of the time. And one of the things you do note about some people, as you started off earlier in the podcast saying something about isolation is that you see some couples do very well, with themselves. They, they talk to each other, they get along fine and all that, but they don't seem to have many people in their lives who don't seem to reach out. And it's not that their life is in any way close to being a negative one or a tragic one or an empty one. It's not that I'm getting at, it just seems like it's a little bit sad to us. Sometimes that people don't seem to be able to find, shall we say real? Down to Earth honest, good friends. And I don't know if that's how you look at this podcast how as because that's what it's all about. I don't think it is all about that. We're talking about being able to connect with other people. And just reach out and find a way to do that even when you feel isolated. But good friends mean a lot to helping us helping one another. answer some of the toughest questions we have in life and find something to lean on, as you just said, when we're in the middle of adversity, and if we're not in the middle of adversity, to have fun with those friends make the difference. You know, that's
Dr Hal Habecker: 14:25
that A friend loves at all times. You go through life with friends, you laugh, you celebrate, you know, milestones, etc, etc, etc. But a brother is born for adversity there you have the both and you know, you go through life and friends kind of lift you up and help you fly. But there's also brothers and sisters that are born to help you. God places them in your life to help you grow through the difficult times.
Dr Randy Hess: 14:54
And they don't I mean, we should help seniors Who might feel that they have isolated themselves just too much. They're not opposed to meeting new people, they're not opposed to going out for dinner or something within with other people, I hope that they understand that it doesn't have to be someone your age. It does not have to be someone in your era, you can have friends at a younger any younger age group, who really do find some of your discussion fascinating. And interesting. And you don't don't assume, I guess, as I'm saying that if you that you can't have friends, even in your, your own kids age group. Because you can I think, and, you know, we, we have found that as a couple, that, that when you find those, it's even more rewarding, because you get a totally different look at what's going on in life, and how to interpret it. And it's just real beneficial. Plus, they look to us a lot in terms of how we interpret things that are going on. So it's just a great back and forth kind of relationship, if you can, I'm just saying Don't say that, because you're 72 or 75 or 85, that you have to find another 85 year old friend, that's just not the way it works. I think you could, it may be in your mind the way it works. But I think you can find a really good friend, no matter what age, if you're open to it.
Dr Hal Habecker: 16:42
I think it's the value of the fourth essential that is investing in generations coming behind you. You know, we're not there in our sequence yet. But, you know, God wants us to develop friendships with people younger than than we are. And, you know, it seems to me, that's the way the family is set up, you know, God gives you kids 2030 years younger than you are, and they come into your network of community and God's purposes to build friendships, right, you know, I had breakfast with my son this morning. He's 39, you know, just, we have a great friendship, you know, with your grandkids, and then you sit in a church and these friends are all around you. And I think of Hebrews 1024 25. That's one of my key verses on friendship, let us consider one another. Well, who is one another, I mean, there are people around us people of all ages, let's take time for one another because they will stimulate or provoke each other to love and good deeds, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves and creating friendships and community as the habit of some because, you know, we become isolated, and we'd like to keep our stuff inside of us. We don't like to spill it to the world necessarily. And but they will encourage us. And it's critically important. And then I think of the last verse, I would submit is in Hebrews, Hebrews 12, where the writer of Hebrews says, let us consider the great cloud of witnesses surrounding us and let us as friends, lay aside all the weight that easily be set of the sin that easily besets us, the weight that holds us back and let us is take your Bible and circle us the plural pronoun there in those two verses. This is a we thing, you know, so we are aging, we are sharing what God is teaching us. We are passing it on to generations, we are leaning on our kids, we are leaning on younger people around us, because none of us, not one of us is an island. You know, God made us for each other. A Ecclesiastes three, you know, Two are better than one, A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart. So you have this emphasis in the scriptures on the value of strong relationships and friendships. Does that make sense?
Dr Randy Hess: 19:05
Does sound does it? You know, it's not that we're trying to, shall we say preach something that we don't believe in or that we just think is good for you like medicine. We're just saying that in our experience, in our experience, and I think in many of you out there, the friendships that you have are the rewards that you get in life, and the friendships you have or how you have acquired new insights that make a difference in your life. I think in our culture of
Dr Hal Habecker: 19:40
retirement, you know, if you're in the middle of the most productive years of your life, as our culture would say, when you retire, you lose that network of people who are doing life with you. You're thinking with them, you're developing a business and then you're developing your life with them. So you retire, and then everything is kind of set aside or takes a step back. And I think part of our mission is fulfilling God's plan for your aging years, you know, we step up, and we find new people to replace that, that vacuum that is created by retirement and we press on. I mean, that's like Paul, in Philippians. Three, I'm going to press on, I want to make new friendships, I want to keep sharing the gospel. I want to keep helping people grow. I want to keep helping make disciples and strengthen the church I want to do across generate generationally, as you mentioned, and I think this is a key issue in our retirement years, the and rediscovering what God's mission is for us, and how we can be of benefit and value and community and friendship. So that's our mission. You know, I, we kind of wind this up with a phrase, there's an an academic resource on gerontology. And the writers in this particular article in this Gerontology publication, they talk about the value of a convoy of ageing people. Now when you think of a convoy you think I think of a military convoy, you see him growing up, you still see him today, military trucks moving together, a picture of force, picture of strength, a picture of strong influence. So if aging people saw themselves as a convoy of aging people, together with strong friendships, all across the board, with their family, and in their church and everything else, how different might our lives be? How much how much stronger? Would our church be much stronger? Would our network of friendships be as we move through the world holding each other's arms up? I just think it'd be a powerful picture of what the church is all about what the aging community is all about. You know, we are as Robert Brown, he said, we're in the best season of our lives grow old with me, the best is yet to be, as we as seniors, press on with God's agenda for our lives. That's kind of my picture of a network of friendships as we age. How do you resonate with that? Randy, does it make sense?
Dr Randy Hess: 22:31
Is the answer to a lot of our questions about seniority and challenges? See you?
Dr Hal Habecker: 22:38
Well, I hope this has been encouragement to you. We want to deal with issues in our aging years that affect us all, and how we can be ambassadors for God, and carry on the message in every way. And let's do it together. You know, it's a good process to think through what God is doing in your network of friendships. And let's encourage any courage each other to keep being about the task God has entrusted to us. Together. Let's do it in our homes, let's do in our church. Let's do in our culture, let's be flagbearers for God, in the value of friendships as we encourage each other and others. God bless you out there as you press on it, knowing him and being the kind of man or woman or senior or young person or whatever that God has called us to be. We want to encourage you, thanks for listening and have a great day and may God bless you