Thunker’s Weblog

Age and Change

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Emma Morano turned 117 last Tuesday.  She lives in Italy and is considered the world’s oldest living person.  Born November 29, 1899, her life spans three centuries, beginning in the 19th century, living through the entire 20th century, and now well into the second decade of the 21st century.

Emma Morano, 117 years old, talks with her physician, Carlo Bava, in the day of her birthday in her home in Verbania

She credits her longevity to family DNA and diet.  Her mother lived into her 90’s and she had sisters who lived to 100.  Her diet, started over 90 years ago, consists of a raw egg for breakfast,  an omelet for lunch and some chicken for dinner.  She eats very few fruits or vegetables.  She also credits her longevity to kicking her husband out in 1938.  He was an abusive sort, and she thrives on her own.

Think of all the things she has seen.  She has seen the introduction of so much we see as commonplace.  Automobiles, airplanes, two world wars, space travel, frozen food, microwaves, cell phones and computers are all things that did not exist when Ms. Morano was born.  Some of these technologies didn’t exist 20 years ago.

Undoubtedly, Ms. Morano has seen much of life, having lived so much of it.  Yet, are technological advances the mile-markers of a civilization?  Do we measure the march of humanity by the inventions that make our lives easier and longer?  Do the quantity of our years demonstrate our impact on life?  For historians, anthropologists and archaeologists, those things are the meat of their work, the essence of their studies.

Individually, I have a much smaller sphere in which to operate.  The measurement of my own life marches to a different meter.  It doesn’t appear I am going to come up with a cure for cancer, discover physics-bending ways to travel to the stars, or develop the perfect doughnut.  Krispy Kreme has beaten me to that one.

Rather, the quality of my heart and purity of my actions will mark my place in life, however long or brief the span.  Scripturally, we see the topic of the heart quite frequently.  Here are a couple of examples.

In Proverbs 23:7, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he…”

Luke 6:45, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”

In biblical Hebrew, the word, “heart,” is transliterated as, “leb.”   The definition of leb according to Strong’s Bible Concordance is: 1) inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding, and soul.

In the Book of Mormon there is an interesting passage.  In 4 Nephi, after over two hundred years of peace and devotion to God, a crack manifests itself in the society.  A split occurs.  A rupture based not upon family affiliation, but upon the desires of one’s heart.

“35 And now it came to pass in this year, yea, in the two hundred and thirty and first year, there was a great division among the people.

36 And it came to pass that in this year there arose a people who were called the Nephites, and they were true believers in Christ; and among them there were those who were called by the Lamanites—Jacobites, and Josephites, and Zoramites;

37 Therefore the true believers in Christ, and the true worshipers of Christ, (among whom were the three disciples of Jesus who should tarry) were called Nephites, and Jacobites, and Josephites, and Zoramites.

38 And it came to pass that they who rejected the gospel were called Lamanites, and Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites; and they did not dwindle in unbelief, but they did wilfully rebel against the gospel of Christ; and they did teach their children that they should not believe, even as their fathers, from the beginning, did dwindle.

39 And it was because of the wickedness and abomination of their fathers, even as it was in the beginning. And they were taught to hate the children of God, even as the Lamanites were taught to hate the children of Nephi from the beginning.”

As people’s desires, wants and motivations changed, the tide of change ran over even into national identity.   Even after over 230 years of having a community without class or faith distinctions, the inhabitants returned and associated non-Christian beliefs with Lamanites and followers of Christ as Nephites.

And it all came down to the desires of their hearts.  The Savior said in Matthew 6:24, “No one is able to serve two masters.  He will either despise the one or love the other;  cleave to one or think little of the other.  You can serve God or mammon.” (Translation by author.)

We’ve all heard the phrase, “You are what you eat.”  I believe the same is true with our inner desires.  “We are what we think.”

As a Christian, I am trying to follow the counsel of John:

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth,” ( 1 John 3:18.

So for as long as I’m on this earth, whether it is a brief time or I live to 117, my desire is to try and live as the Savior would like me to live.


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