“Don’t Let The Old Man In!” But Eventually, He Breaks The Door Down!

In 2018 Toby Keith told this story about the song he wrote for a Clint Eastwood movie.

Out on the golf green, Eastwood shared that he’d be starting work on The Mule in two days, which also happened to be his 88th birthday. Struck by Eastwood’s relentless energy at an age when many are content to sit and reflect, Keith asked how he keeps going.

“He said, ‘I just get up every morning and go out. And I don’t let the old man in,’ ” Keith recounts. “And I thought, I’m writing that.” 

What was to become “Don’t Let the Old Man In” transfixed the country singer/songwriter, who had soaked in enough about the film and Eastwood’s character to take a stab at a song. “People were talking to me and they would say, ‘Did you hear what I just said?’ And I was like, ‘No,’ because I wasn’t listening to any conversations. I was consumed by ‘Don’t Let the Old Man In.’ I worked so hard on it,” Keith says. “When I finally sang the line, I thought, it’s got to be dark, it’s got to be a ballad and it’s got to be simple.”

Many moons I have lived
My body’s weathered and worn
Ask yourself how would you be
If you didn’t know the day you were born

When he rides up on his horse
And you feel that cold bitter wind
Look out your window and smile
Don’t let the old man in

The ironic nature of this exchange is Eastwood is now 93 years old, and sadly, Toby Keith just died at the young age of 62! “Don’t let the old man in, but eventually, he will break the door down!” Yes, be it young or old, the man with the sickle will find his way into the lives of your loved ones and, yes, even into our own lives! “Don’t let the old man in” is a beautiful way to go through your life. But as Keith found out, you don’t have to be ‘old’ for the Grim Reaper to visit you; you merely have to be living!

Like Toby Keith said, “Its got to be dark, it’s got to be a ballad and it’s got to be simple.” For many, that pretty much sums up the nature of this life to them. As my wife and I have aged the ‘old man and the old woman’ has crept into the lives of many of our friends. Each month brings the news of another friend who has passed on to the other side. It is like the tiles in our mosaic life are slowly losing the glue that holds them in place. Our panoramic life looks like a jigsaw puzzle, missing many pieces!

The ‘old man’ may get into my house today, tomorrow, or not for another twenty years. However, I have a foundation of faith in the afterlife that serves as a ‘balm of Gilead’ to my soul. I am a firm believer in Jesus Christ and that through Him and by Him, I will rise again, as will everyone who has ever lived! He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6) He is my hope and the author of my salvation. He will keep the “old man” from robbing me of all I cherish! “Where (old man), is your victory…and where is your sting! Death, has been swallowed up in victory! (1 Corinthians 15)

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