Have you ever wished you could go back to being a little child? I have, but with this caveat, that I take with me all the knowledge I’ve earned. What’s the point of re-learning lessons like the alphabet or basic arithmetic? What I’m trying to say is this: old age need not be a return to infancy but a keener receptivity to good. Children learn this early and before long their tears and discomforts give way to simple wonder, smiles, inquisitiveness, color, construction, loving relationships. Pleasures that children enjoy should not become lost in the maze of worries we elders are often inclined to entertain.
Jesus said we should become as a little child. That implies that the childlike attitude to life is not a going back process but a leap into reality. Life should not be complicated or burdensome. Complications and burdens come from the failure to keep our progress simple, from wandering off track and attempting to haul baggage that is not useful to us.
This new chapter in my life has forced me to put aside not only things but thoughts that are useless to me. Let’s face it, moving is a cleansing process. Even when I thought I’d stay in my former home I felt the urge to empty it and start over as I had that first week I stayed there before the truckers hauled in all my possessions. It’s amazing how little one needs, really needs, to live from day to day.
Many seniors have taken to writing their memoirs. I did it myself when I wrote my autobiographical novel, Claudia’s Home, Way Stations Along Her Spiritual Path. In fact, it was also a trek from house to house, state to state. In other words finding home in many places, adjusting to new friends, new streets, new jobs. One had to be flexible, especially with children to care for. These writings are useful to us and will be to our children, but we must not let them rob us of present work and pleasures. Too much looking back can do to us like it did to Lot's wife, turn us into a pillar of salt!
Now I’m thinking also that I must not become too comfortable in my elder years. I like to call them my “advancing” years. These are times I can enjoy the qualities of childhood,- wonders, inquisitiveness, a bit of daring, new acquaintances and studious solitudes. They can be a kind of childhood all over again, having my meals prepared for me, informal home-schooling, finding ways to be of service and growing mentally and spiritually.
At this time of life I am reminded of that old song we used to sing:
“Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam,
where the deer and the antelope play.
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
and skies are not cloudy all day.
Home, home on the range...”
THE RANGE. Now wouldn’t that be a neat name for the lives we lead in our advancing years? Yes, “home is where the heart is,” so I say to all of us as we grow older, don’t resist old age, put your heart in it! And seldom, if ever, find reasons to complain or become discouraged!