I just finished cleaning out the refrigerator. It shames me to find jars and cartons with their contents gone sour and moldy. I say to myself, This isn’t me! Yet it certainly can’t be blamed on anyone else. When I finish I feel good, more like myself.
Before I tackled the refrigerator I got caught up in Facebook and as I cleaned out the fridge I wished I could do the same with Facebook. But Facebook belongs to those who write on it and if things get too obnoxious I can learn how to “de-friend.” (Haven’t had to do that with anyone yet.)
Some of my friends say, “I don’t do Facebook!” I can see their point, but they may not know what they have missed. For me it would mean missing pictures of where my children go on their vacations. Pictures of their children and themselves at home as well. I would probably never know much of many of my nephews and nieces and their children. Wait for letters filled with snapshots and you’re likely to wait forever. Some of my Facebook friends share stories of inspiring feats of accomplishment, like acrobats, dancers, artists, comedians, people who have overcome adversities and succeed in life. There are many amusing pictures of darling babies, young people I know, friends and the things they say and do, the places they go. Often some of my Facebook friends send me U-Tube offerings, a variety of slide shows about animals and people that entertain, inspire or make me laugh. My only problem with Facebook is that I have to watch myself or I’ll spend too much time there.
When personal controversy enters in, and really good people forget their goodness in pushing their point, then Facebook is like going through the refrigerator and finding something good that has turned bad. It’s even sad. Then I think, shall I get into the act and add fuel to the fire with my own opinions or try to be a peacemaker or just overlook it? After all, my views as an octogenarian could get me classified as a kooky old woman. My point gets pitched. So, I’ve found it best to wait and be asked for my opinion. More time to think about things and argue with myself.
In high school I took a class in debate and one of my assignments was to argue on the side of an issue that I totally disagreed with. I think it had to do with the age young men should be drafted into military service in times of war. (No drafting of women then, only enlistments.) I only remember that this forced me to see how I could be of another mind when I looked at the topic in a different light. I won the debate even though it didn’t change my private opinion. What it did do was show me how to be understanding and respectful. I learned that one can be convincing without putting down his opponent and demoting herself at the same time.
It’s impossible not to have opinions but it is possible to know when, where, how and if we should voice them. When I think back on my life I cringe at the way I was so sure of everything. Sometimes I allowed temper to destroy my equilibrium, squelch my case and put me in the uncomfortable seat of apology where the point I’d been making got lost because of my behavior.
So this is just another way I’ve found that getting older is getting better. I am still learning how to communicate wisely. When I feel the adrenaline rise I am learning how to button up and pray. Do you ever find yourself carrying old grudges and re-igniting them in anger? I do, and I’m always sorry for it. I’m more open to changing my mind now, more willing to consider all sides.
When I hear where another is coming from and see where they’re going when I give them the floor and really listen, things become clearer.
Sometimes I wonder if God isn’t giving me more time here on earth because I need to clean out my refrigerator, rather, my suitcase of lessons un-learned before arriving at the gates of heaven. This should be a time of polishing the gemstone of my better and best self. Old age, any age, is no time for being a stick in the mud!