Life In The Eighties

I am a New Church old woman of three score years and twenty-one, which is why this is my last contribution to the journal. There comes a time in our lives when ‘enough’ presents itself as a desirable option.

In the interests of the positive I believe that I should focus on gratitude. Our world today is not so different from the one I was born into: 1942 in Bonnie Scotland with the world at war. I could almost say that it is the same script with different players. Ego, revenge and greed continue to dominate action. But the earth is still vibrant with people of character whose principles and love of the Lord safeguard them against the most noxious evils.  Because we are all beloved children of God, we can freely choose to follow Him and fight our weaknesses with His help until we face the ultimate challenges of forgiveness and love for all. Hopefully, our aim will be to live long enough to overcome our grievances.

One of the sweet balms of old age is thankfulness. As I look at my life, I can clearly see the hand of the Lord’s agency at work.  I give thanks, too, for my children and grandchildren, whom I love and admire, and friends who have become family of choice. A happy marriage, too, is a constant source of blessing. Ken and I will celebrate our sixtieth wedding anniversary in January to mark a lifetime of comfort, support and joy. Perfection, of course, is unattainable in life, as we are fallible human beings, but eternity promises abundance.

Not that this life lacks joy or the talents that animate our being. I have a precious passion for teaching which emerged when I was a bossy four-year- old and continues today as I lead courses on Shakespeare Studies. This year’s course focuses on leadership in ‘Julius Caesar’, ‘Henry V’ and ‘Macbeth’. My students and I examine the presence of ethos, pathos and logos as we evaluate ethical character, the ability to evoke emotion, and the clarity and reason needed for the formulation of policy. Check your own leaders out; it’s important to the planet.

I am grateful, too, for what I have seen of this ‘great, wide, beautiful, wonderful world’. It is a privilege to have seen Machu Picchu, the Taj Mahal and the Acropolis. Ken and I have seen orca pods west of Seattle, long haired monkeys in the Himalayas and elephants, lions, and giraffe in the game reserves of South Africa, where we live. We have walked on the Great Wall of China, in Sydney’s opera house and Washington’s Smithsonian museums. Our lives have been blessed with vistas and marvels, and doubly enriched with the appreciation of the Lord’s genius in his work. 

And now there is a whole lot of work and living to do. There are many people we would like to see again in the hereafter and a future that holds promise without terror. It is good to be alive.

About Verna Brown

Verna Brown was born in the north of Scotland in 1942 and followed the sun with her parents and grandmother to Durban, South Africa in 1948. She joined the New Church at 20, and was married to Kenneth Brown in 1964 in the Musgrave Road Church. They have 4 married children and 8 grandchildren. Verna has a DLitt et Phil degree, as well as a further degree in education. She has taught and lectured, and loves her lively Sunday School class at Buccleuch in Gauteng (Transvaal) as well as the classes she offers in her own home for U3A (the University of the Third Age: i.e. retirees). She looks forward to contributing to New Christian Woman as a mature (?) member. Greetings to you all.

2 thoughts on “Life In The Eighties

  1. Wonderful post and Verna. Despite all South Aftricas challenges you still find so much joy in life

  2. Absolutely love this post! Thanks for sharing the perspective of what we are here for 🙂

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