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Topic: DREAMS

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and
challenged us to get to know someone we didn't already know. I
stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder.
I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me
with a smile that lit up her entire being.

She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I'm eighty-seven years
old. Can I give you a hug?" I laughed and enthusiastically
responded,"Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze.
"Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked.
She jokingly replied, "I'm here to meet a rich husband, get married,
have a couple of children, and then retire and travel."
"No seriously," I asked. I was curious what may have motivated
her to be taking on this challenge at her age.
"I always dreamed of having a college education and now I'm
getting one!" she told me.

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a
chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Every day for the
next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was
always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom
and experience with me. Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus
icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up
and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She
was living it up. At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our
football banquet. I'll never forget what she taught us. She was
introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared
speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated
and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said "I'm
sorry I'm so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I'll never
get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know." As we laughed she
cleared her throat and began:

"We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing.
There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. "You have
to laugh and find humor every day. "You've got to have a dream. When you lose your dreams,
you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!" "There is
a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed
for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven
years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight. Anybody can grow
older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding the opportunity
in change." "Have no regrets.. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for
things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."

She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose." She
challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.

At the years end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all
those years ago. One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her
sleep.

Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught
by example that it's never too late to be all you can possibly be.

If you read this, please send this peaceful word of advice to your friends and family, they'll really enjoy
it! We send these words in loving memory of ROSE.

Remember, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY, GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL.

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Entire contents copyright © 1999 - 2007 by Patrick Kelly, All rights reserved.
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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018