Rose


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, and
have a couple of kids…’

‘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 revelled 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 humour 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 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 year’s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all
those months 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.

These words have been passed along in loving memory of ROSE.

REMEMBER, GROWING OLDER IS MANDATORY. GROWING UP IS OPTIONAL. We make a
Living by what we get. We make a Life by what we give.

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage. If God brings you to it, He
will bring you through it..

‘Good friends are like stars….. …..You don’t always see them, but you
know they are always there.’

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