Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News

Walter Albritton

March 25, 2007


The simple lesson 75 years have taught one old man


          A friend tempted me. He asked me what great wisdom I could offer now that I have lived 75 years. So here goes. Nothing profound – just a simple observation: Every day people make a powerful difference in my life.

          I could do without a car, even a house. I could live in a tent with few clothes. I enjoy wearing the same clothes five days in a row anyway.

          Land is not that important. I have two acres and I would sell one of them for the right price. Anyway, whatever land or stuff I own today will soon belong to someone else.

          I could get along without my Timex. At my age the days are passing so quickly who cares what time it is. My watch has a calendar feature on it. I don’t like that. I tried to find one that would just tell me the time. I figure I would be in real trouble if I had to look at my watch to know what day of the month it is.  

          My point is this: if you strip me down to what matters the most, what you have left is people. I like people. I don’t like dogs, cats, lizards, or monkeys. Horses? Well, horses are nice, especially if you don’t have a car, but people still outrank horses in my book. If I owned the most beautiful horse in the world – like Roy’s Trigger perhaps – it would be no fun if I had no person to show the horse to.

          What’s so important about people? That’s easy. They make life worth living. Let me explain how that works.

          A man who is a good friend called me early this morning. He paid me a compliment and shared a wonderful idea he had been meditating on in his quiet time. My day was blessed because Cecil called.

          A letter came in the mail from the wife of our oldest son. Tammy wanted to thank Mom and me for the Bible we had given her for Christmas eleven years ago. She said the Bible was her most valuable possession, highly treasured because of the spiritual help she had received from studying it.

My heart sang as I read her grateful letter.

          My friend John tells me I am a young man at 75. He is 84 but still working every day and enjoying it. Every month he prepares well to teach his Sunday School Class on the fourth Sunday. We talk about each lesson. He wants to make sure he is on the mark, always teaching what matters and ignoring the frivolous stuff. His devotion to truth-telling is an inspiration.

          Ben and I have met only through the exchange of email messages. We have swapped ideas about love, God, and life. Today his message touched me deeply. The recent tornado destroyed his home. But he is not despondent; he is elated. This experience has validated God’s love for him. I trembled as I read, knowing that his soul was speaking to my soul. The song, “It is Well With My Soul,” bubbled to the surface in my mind.

          My grandson Matthew called from Kentucky. David is fine. His surgery went well. The doctor was pleased. Matthew said his pastor came by the hospital and prayed with him and Jodi his wife. That pastor did what I wished I had been able to do. That blessed me.

          And there is another – the woman God gave me. Dean has put up with me for 54 years. She still loves me. I cannot imagine what it would be like to wake up and not have her beside me. In a thousand ways she makes my life worth living – moment by moment, day by day. How long it will last is in the hands of Another. Until then, I embrace each hour with joy.

          I could speak of dozens and dozens more, good friends and colleagues, people everywhere who touch my life every day. In a marvelous way they are my “significant others” – the people who make a powerful difference in my life every day.

          That’s what I have learned in 75 years – that people are my greatest treasure. People inspire me. People encourage me. People make me glad that I am alive. People make life worth living.

          I can hardly wait to get up in the morning and start a new day! + + + +