This morning on TV there was a commercial for a retirement community out in Virginia. You know, the ones where seniors can be found playing golf, swimming, reading, laughing, etc. in a carefully manicure and controlled environment? Nothing out of the ordinary really…but a sinister thought struck me.
Has anyone read C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters?
Ever since reading that book and seeing the play two years ago, I look at the world differently…as a place where a spiritual battle is truly being fought.
What does this have to do with retirement communities? Well, let me give the genre a crack.
With age comes wisdom. All humans know that. Life experience is often the best teacher, and every year a human lives, he or she gets wiser. They can’t help themselves; it’s just written in their souls. Through every relationship, hardship, success, experience of death, experience of new life, they see clearer glimpses the one who calls himself love. Ugh! Unfortunately, we can’t stop this revelation, but we can certainly try! Wise, old people are our worst enemy, especially if they are happy!
Our goal is to do everything in our power to keep these wise, old, happy from sharing their wisdom with anyone, especially children! So, what can we do? Seclude them of course! Get them far away from their families and neighborhoods.
It’s particularly helpful if these retirement communities are smelly or dimly lit or unattractive in any way. That way children will not want to go talk to the old people, even if they are family. Consequently, they won’t receive any of the wisdom these happy, old people have to offer.
Now, a word of caution. We must be vigilant about young people who work at these retirement communities, school groups who volunteer there, and families who for some reason force their children to visit their grandparents. Do everything you can to distract them, confuse them, interrupt them, etc. All conversations, story-telling, and letter-writing must be blocked.
Silence and seclusion. That is the key.