“Getting Older Is Getting Better.” Often I’ve had to defend the title of my blog. Not to others but to myself. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not age that hinders me but age-old beliefs about age.
My grandmother used to say when one of the grandchildren would ask her how old she was, "I’m as old as God.” Most of us have outgrown the image of God as an old man up in the sky. To God the word “old” is irrelevant, even obsolete. That’s the way my grandmother saw it, and could God have made her (or any of us) any other way?
Another answer to age might be one gleaned from The Holy Bible: “Before the morning stars sang together I was there.” An astronomer I once knew said that we are all made of star dust. No matter how you look at it, we can claim that age is largely just what we make of it. Shakespeare’s Hamlet says: “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
The line between the good of getting older and the bad of it does, indeed, rest upon our thoughts. Some people are so fixed on youth that they’d rather die than grow old. I feel that old age or youth, just as my shadow grows longer or shorter, has little relation to me. It is simply a phenomenon. If it looks fat or thin, who cares? I see the fleshly idea of me to be like my shadow. The “real” me is not there. What I think is what defines me at present.
So, as the years go by no matter what the body says about me I can believe it or not. I can worry about it or not. Just one thing is required of me, to do my best and keep on doing my best. Circumstances can’t change my mind for better or worse. Only I can do that.
Am I satisfied with my progress in learning the truth, the good, of all things? Not always. I sometimes remember a time when my husband and I had an appointment with a man, a well-known speaker, whose business then in his advancing years was teaching people how to read aloud. The meeting was to take place in his home studio and his housekeeper answered the door and seated us. We waited. And waited. Finally, he appeared and I can only say he did not look good. He limped and leaned heavily on a cane. He had on a bathrobe and slippers and his hair was tousled and, well, I’ll leave it at that. But he greeted us with a big smile and said, “I’m sorry but could we make our meeting some other time? I’m not at my best today." Then he quickly added in a firm voice, "but I’m doing the best I know how, and that’s all the angels are doing nowadays!”
He was not, I’m sure, suffering from a hangover. Maybe it was from one of those mean old-age beliefs. Although we never saw him again, what he gave us in his smile and comment has helped me immensely. Whenever I struggle I can see myself in the company of angels, being cheerful and doing my best. Here at The Willows I feel I truly am in the company of angels, all of us doing our best, and we don't concern ourselves with age, age-old beliefs, complaints or shadows. We greet each other and say, "Hi there! You're looking good!" And we mean it because it's true!
Guess I'll stick to my title.
Guess I'll stick to my title.