I wrote this as I sat at a home for the aged and someone I'd come to meet over there hadn't turned up so I had a little time, and I pulled my iPad out and started to write.

‘As I look up I see the most serious activity going on; a number of old ladies from the same home are involved in cutting vegetables. I think it is a voluntary job, but the commitment, the concentration I see is admirable. Each vegetable is meticulously cut. Not for them the pleasures of conversation, not for them chatting on a mobile, they are enjoying their work and more than ever I think, enjoying the fact they are still useful!

How important it is to feel useful.

How terrible to feel useless!

I wonder at what age we begin to feel we are not as useful as we were before?

I wonder how it would be to feel useless?

Again my eyes go back to the ladies around the table. It is such a trivial job they are doing, but doing with much zeal and fervor!

Zeal and fervour! Trivial job! End result? Vegetables that are beautifully cut and which goes into a meal that will be enjoyed by all!

What an example to other vegetable cutters!

"Who cut these vegetables?"

"I did!"

"They are cut so well!"

"Thank you! But that' s the way I do most things!" says the old lady modestly.

I know that conversation is my imagination working, but isn't that what we can be as we grow old? An example in every little task we are involved in.

Today we live in a world of shortcuts. We live in a time when we hardly involve ourselves in what we are doing, trying instead to get away with earning quick bucks with small effort. That's where we need examples of meticulousness, of diligence, of excellence in even small things. This is a generation that needs to hear about being thorough, being perfect.

I look up again at the ladies cutting their vegetables and I know their job isn't trivial, but I also know that no one will ever know, other than other vegetable cutters, that it's they who cut those vegetables.

That as those who eat the food eat later, they will never know who put what effort into the meal. But the vegetable cutters I see as I write, even while knowing they will never be appreciated, carry on regardless, because doing a good job is reward enough!

And today, they, and you and I can be examples as we grow old, much needed examples in a world which needs such pictures to look up to..!

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