By Edward A. Harris - Biblicist

   The year 2003 is now behind us. We now herald in the New Year. While many of us will reflect upon the past year and beyond, our greatest task is to honestly conclude if we have contributed enough to make our community and the wider world a better place? The challenge ahead of us must be to resolve to do more for the well being of our fellowmen and especially the less fortunate in our midst. Every passing year the poverty gap is widening. Something must be done to arrest this situation. It will take leadership. Mentoring will be an important aspect of the process.

   This article is dedicated to the senior citizens in our midst. It is said that Life begins at 40. If life begins at 40 then 80 is mid age. But the Bible is right on target that 70 is a given and 80 is a blessing. I don't believe that many senior citizens in our country are living a fulfilling life after retirement or over 60, even if they are physically able to do so.

   This article is intended to open a window of opportunity for matured adults over the age of 60 to step out in faith and stand on the promise of the Messiah when he proclaimed, "He came that we may have life and have it more abundantly". Do I hear Alleluia? I love that promise and I wish to share with you ideas as to how we can claim this promise.

   I seldom look at non-news TV channels; I try to get as much information as possible from the News Networks. Something which continues to strike me as I look at the various news and commentaries is the fact that so many over 70 persons are holding key positions and making serious contribution to their countries while being supported by younger executives. This combination is almost non-existent in our environment. While on the one hand, early retirement seems to be the order of the day, making experience a scarce commodity and at the other extreme, it is all about self, and in recent times, many refusing to make any contribution unless they are paid even if it means their experiences will rot and die with them. What will their legacy be? What will be their contribution towards arresting the negative trends that are with us? We, the older folks need each other. Our youth need us now, more than ever. Mentorship is vital at this juncture. If we lock ourselves away in our homes and fail to interact, how will we be able to light up the world? We must not leave the future to younger persons even if it is their desire to push us aside. The future belongs to all of us.

   I know how difficult it is to make a decision to step out and be a part of the community when so much has been done to us. People have treated us cruelly; some robbed us and took advantage of us. We tend to get afraid of our fellowmen and many times declare - "I done with that". Then, what are you doing with your blessing? To exercise that blessing you have to step out and be an active part of your community. We all have to wrestle with the many wrongs that have been done to us in our lives. I know the arguments you have been putting forward. I was there too. I know what it is to give all of yourself and receive in return only ingratitude, but nothing has so far caused me to turn my back on the world. Rather, these obstacles have strengthened my resolve that no one will rob me of my blessing of living an abundant life. To enjoy an abundant life, you must interact with others, caring and sharing are the watchwords. I will let nothing nor no one to deter me.

   I am in the evening of my years but I have never been more upbeat. I feel that we concede to old age too easily and too early. Every time I go shopping, I ask if discounts are allowed for purchases by senior citizens and I end up being challenged but I have earned it and I am not afraid to ask for it. It is time that we, senior citizens take care of our own destiny. It is time to form an Association that will seek to bring happiness into our lives. We must find a way of making a direct contribution to society. We must know our rights.

  Let us step out in 2004 and take our rightful place. The Association will bring us together and give us the opportunity to share our experiences and ideas among ourselves and chart a course of action to reach out to our communities. Our social lives will be improved as we interact with each other at the various events. When last did you enjoy an evening when you danced to your heart's desire and you and your partner echoed the words of Louis Armstrong - What a Wonderful World? I can just imagine what joy will be ours once again. Could you imagine what joy will be brought to the females as they remember how they danced the night away in their younger years? Let your imagination go.

   We have dealt with some social aspects how about professional involvement? Our Association will seek to explore Voluntary Service Opportunities at home and abroad. People in the develop countries don't just go to sleep and wait to die with their ideas, they share it and have fun doing so. The VESO, CESO, BESO organizations provide retired executives around the world to share their expertise. Many did assignments in St. Lucia. It is time that we begin to seek out opportunities to give back. Start among our neighbours and expand globally. Many African nations need us. We have expertise too. We have a strong point on appropriate technology. Our needs are very much like theirs. We are a part of the less developed world.

   We have to make the best of our golden years. Let us put our experiences and ideas to paper. The newspaper companies are always looking for good stories. If they wouldn't publish your stories, I will. I have just opened up my archive at to Freelance writers and would welcome articles from you. Email: let us get together and do something before time changes for eternity. Call me, let us talk about how we can get together and make a difference, Mobile 758-485-1456 I am certain that one of the hotels would facilitate our meetings. If you feel the same as I, let us get together and change our world.

   I have said it many times in recent weeks and I think it is worth repeating, the year 2004 will be GREAT! We shall overcome; we must take our destiny in our own hands and live our gift of abundant life. May God's richest blessings be upon you now and throughout this New Year!   Forward Ever, Backward Never!!!!

   Remember always - God is in Charge!