This is the latest post in this little detour from the Living my Legacy Series that I’m calling Aging Gracefully. I’m linking to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch since aging gracefully is the ultimate metamorphosis! (Loads of before and afters over there today~visti Susan!)
“She’s getting small” I told Mike about my mom. It was shortly after my little brother David left this world that I noticed the difference in Mom. All my life she was a fierce presence. Nobody messed with her kids…or else. When David was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, she spent ten years being fierce with his treatment options. Fierce with nurses and doctors. Fierce with the enemy in prayer. But now, not so much. She was getting small. A little quieter. A bit mellower. She let things pass that would normally bring out her spunky side. It bothered me.
I uttered the same exact words about my Gramma years before. Gramma was also a “presence”. She commanded respect in a Southern lady-like kind of way. As a child I remember trying to pay for something at Rich’s department store. The sales-lady dismissed me with a rude comment. I was embarrassed and close to tears, when Gramma stepped up behind me. I don’t remember exactly what she said to the sales-lady but right then and there with her hand on my shoulder she crisply made things right and I was offered an apology. As she got older though her big personality shrank a little. One day I watched her from across a room full of noisy family and thought, “look at her, she’s so small sitting there in the corner, not like herself at all.
I’ve been saddened by this smallness in these two powerful women in my life until recently. Something has shifted in me. I didn’t see it coming but just a little, I’m becoming smaller too.
A few days ago after a social situation, I woke up feeling angst. Anger roiled around my gut before I even opened my eyes. What’s going on? Why am I so darn mad?
Scenes from the past few days played over and over as I made my morning coffee. My heart actually raced with my thoughts. I had been treated with rudeness on several occasions and maybe for the first time, I had just taken it. I didn’t say a word, just moved on. I had been small.
Why didn’t I react back? Why did I turn and walk away? I’ll tell you one thing; it wasn’t because of any desire to turn the other cheek. Nothing pious in my response. I think it was simply to avoid drama. To keep from pouring gasoline on a little flame. But now I was paying for it. My soul was poisoned.
The great thing about this is that I even noticed! I live my life these days in such a state of peace I truly can’t take a drop of discord. My defenses go nuts. I want to purge the junk out of my system and quickly regain my serenity. So that’s what I did. I prayed. I journaled. I let go. And I thought of Mom and Gramma and how they got smaller with age. How they just stopped reacting to toxic people or situations. Shaking the small stuff off and holding onto their peace. I’m not there. Not by a long shot. Even in my non-reaction I stuff the toxins. But I’m closer than I was. And perhaps most importantly, I see this “smallness” for what it is…a good thing. I won’t feel sad when I see an older person become seemingly smaller. It’s graciousness. It’s peace. It’s being content in not fighting back…in not fighting for “rights”.
I’m pretty sure some of you were born chill. Born with the beautiful ability to be blissfully unaffected by the Toxic. If that’s you…I love that quality! Yay God! But if you’re like me and you’re learning how to respond to the toxic in your life…prayers for you and for me! May love and peace keep us centered as we age gracefully ~