It’s Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are That Family and I’m linking because after all…aging gracefully works for me!
I said I was taking a brief detour in Living My Legacy series to chat about Aging Gracefully. But as I’ve started writing these essays I realize that Aging Gracefully is an important part of living the legacy I want to leave. (The Legacy series started here and the Aging series started here, in case you’re interested!)
Grumpy old man. Mean old lady. Ever known one of those? I’ve known a few. As I get older the question of why the older man is grumpy and the older lady seems mean drives me nuts. Growing older is quite enough; I don’t want to grow older and meaner for the love of Pete!
Before Mom left this world she and I got the chance to talk about this. It bothered her too. Growing old and getting mean. Mom had a lot of pain in her life. A lot. But it was after my little brother left us, that my mom began to put into words what she believed about moving through pain. Here’s a little from her prayer journal during the early days on her journey of grief…
“Trials and pain come to your children, what we learn through them becomes a strategy for our walk through this life…Past memories are not meant to hurt us, nor are they meant to be embellished to make us long for the good old days, they are to show your faithfulness, to encourage us that in the end…in the end… you never fail us.”
Mom went through her share of anger over loosing David. She took her time but she did move through the anger. Eventually she was so broken and so tender there was no room for cynicism and bitterness. Here’s the thing…I think life can beat the love and joy out of people. Life is hard. Sometimes it’s downright unbearable. Disappointments can devastate and wreak havoc on our very essence. And sometimes we get angry. Sometimes we just don’t have the energy to deal with the anger and we stuff it and keep going. Little by little our faith is chipped away. Little by little the stagnate anger starts to boil with each new disappointment or loss. Over time our verbiage becomes cynical and negative, poisoning everyone around us. And one day we’re not so young anymore and the list of hurts is long and the stuffed anger has nowhere to go and it just spews out of us in snide comments or sharp comebacks. We look in the mirror and we’re old and mean…
Old and mean. One of those is inevitable if we continue to breathe year after year. But one of them isn’t. How old are you? If I asked you to tell me your deepest hurt, what’s the first thought? Does it bring you to tears or give you an emotional pause? Or does anger and sarcasm spew out with the recognition? This is a tell-tell way, I think, to know if you’re on track to being bitter.
I’m not in the least downplaying pain. Nor am I saying that anger in the journey of grief is avoidable. Again, life is hard. I’m sorry if you’re in your twenty’s and no one’s told you this. Enjoy the good times. But know that some hard days will come. Don’t be surprised when you walk a dark road…it will happen. It’s how you move through these times that leaves you either broken, spilled out and eventually a tenderhearted vessel for The Father’s love, or angry, bitter and eventually an agent of poison to those around you. Throughout my life I’ve been a little of both.
When I was younger I was guilty of poking fun of grumpy older men or angry older ladies. Not anymore. Now I feel so sorry for them knowing how much pain they must have experienced over their lifetime. I don’t think anyone truly wants to grow meaner with each passing year. My prayer is to deal with hurts, loss and pain and move through the grief to a place where I’m more tender and understanding. More loving and trusting. Like my mom.
~Love to you Peeps and prayers as we live the legacy we want to leave…one day at time~