Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | September 26, 2019

The Elephant in the Room

What’s the meaning of the phrase ‘The elephant in the room’?

“An important and obvious topic, which everyone present is aware of, but which isn’t discussed, as such discussion is considered to be uncomfortable.”

What’s the origin of the phrase ‘The elephant in the room’?

“The expression is of US origin, although the precise source isn’t known. The meaning, if not the exact wording, dates from at least the 1950s and is possibly some years older than that. The first reference to the phrase that I have found is in The Charleston Gazette, July 1952.”

I believe we have an elephant in the room when it comes to getting old; this is a subject that is generally avoided in polite conversation as are any questions regarding one’s age. It has long been considered impolite to ask a woman’s age and now one generally refrains from bringing the subject up regardless of gender.

It is safe to say that everyone knows there are only two options available to every human being; get older or die, these are the only choices we have. Efforts to conceal the aging process or temporarily reverse it are big business and generate millions of dollars to those promoting this or that product. The process of aging is irreversible and inevitable and is actually built into our bodies by design.

Last time I mentioned the subject of telomeres and how they operate to provide a time limit on cell replication; as I observe my body, I suspect that in some cases my supply of telomeres is exhausted; I see clear evidence of parts and pieces wearing out.

Last time I also mentioned my joy and peace as I think on Psalm 139:16 where it is written:

“You saw me before I was born.
    Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
    before a single day had passed.”

I continue to delight in the thought that my times are in his hands!

By God’s grace I have lived to be 86 years old and still enjoy reasonably good health. There was an expression, when I was a child, of something being held together by “chewing gum and bailing wire;” I suppose a more contemporary version of that might be “held together by duct tape and super glue.” With much appreciated help from doctors, surgeons, and dentists I am still sufficiently held together to go about my daily routine.

I am confident that young people can have no idea of how distinctly unwelcome the thought of being young again is to me; I was there once and experienced every year, one year at a time, and have no desire to live through them again. While I am thankful for the many blessings God bestowed on me, I have no desire whatsoever to walk those paths again!

Exploring New Vistas

Today, I am the oldest I’ve ever been; each day that passes offers new experiences and discoveries as I travel paths I’ve never traveled before. I like to think of it as an adventure, a voyage of discovery into new and unknown worlds; it is truly exciting to me to know I am following a path which will eventually take me into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ.

On February 28, 2016 I published an essay, “A Surprising Discovery.” In this essay I commented on the unexpected discoveries I was making about life as I grew older. Now, over three years later, I can report that this process of discovery has continued as my priorities and perceptions continue to evolve as I age even more.

I can recall thinking how old my grandfathers were at the time of their deaths. My father’s, father was 73 and my mother’s father was 74 when they died; I have outlived them both by many years and the Lord still seems to have plans for me. Fortunately, my appearance was never a basic part of my identity as a human being so my aging has not had a serious impact on my self-image.

I think on those whose identity and sense of self-worth was totally wrapped up in how they looked, the famous movie stars of the past who could compare their reflections in the mirror with the photos and movies so readily available for viewing. In too many cases, their frustration was clearly evident in the steps they tried to take to ameliorate the aging process.

Making Peace with the Process

I have learned to accept the aging process with patience and understanding; I know all too well the only normal alternative is death, so I’m more than willing to do my best to accommodate the changes in my body as they come. My prayer to our Lord is that he will permit me to always be able and available to love and care for my beloved wife of almost 67 years.

The fact of the matter is we are really enjoying our time together; I retired in September of 2004 and our time together has been a great joy and comfort to us both. It is still completely true that my wife’s entry into the room brightens my life and brings joy to my soul; we are richly blessed!

There is one thing I can tell you; my life, since my retirement, has not once been boring nor even the least bit tedious; each new day brings opportunities, challenges and excitement which help the time fly by; it is hard to imagine that over 15 fifteen years ago I retired from full time employment.

I have a favorite quote by Robert Browning:

“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!” Robert Browning

Let us all delight ourselves in the moments planned for us by God!


  1. This was beautiful, David. It touched my heart! I also liked Psalm 139:16 – I am going to share this scripture and your blog on FB. I have to confess as a woman, it is a little hard to see the changes happening but this has really helped me put things in perspective. Thank you for letting God shine through you as an inspiration! God bless you and Adele, my dear friends!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Psalm 139 has been a blessing to me for years; there are so many ways it has helped me and been such a joy to me.


  2. David: Beautiful word’s…thanks for sharing it!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Dave,

      Thank you for commenting; our Lord is so very gracious and merciful!



  3. Thank you David I sometimes struggle with this aging process I’ve been married 44 years I wish I could say my life our life has been always great but there have been rough patches , I love ❤️ the verse you gave , he knew all my days good and bad we have nothing to fear with the Lord only eternity with him This world will pass away we who belong to the Lord will live on with him

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sharon,
      Thank you for your comment! The sad truth is we all share in the rough patches, it’s a part of living in this sin-troubled world. I suspect all of us who love the Lord are ready for the world, as it is now, to pass on into history!


  4. Wow, I love that!!! U r so right, we adopted the same quote at retirement!!! What a joy our 57 years have been and wa ting .ore!!! The Lord is so good to us!!! We know who is n control!!!😍

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda,
      Thank you for commenting and you’re right, our Lord is so very good to us!


  5. I’m right behind you, Boss!!


    Liked by 1 person

    • What a joy to know our paths have the same destination!


      • Indeed it is!!!

        Liked by 1 person

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