Return to Wonder
Odd that we elders do not often share with youth the wonders of old age. We grouse about our bodily aches and limitations but the gifts of aging are as real as its losses. We do our kids and grandkids no favor when we conceal from them the quiet satisfactions of old age, the return to innocence that envelops our passing years, the sweet comfort of our memories and the return of our childhood capacity to wonder.
Among the many unheralded blessings of old age is our ability to return to the innocence of our childhood. We look upon the tiny hands of a new born baby and we are astonished. We are in awe at the flight of a raven gliding in majesty above. Our eyes come alive at the sight of a young woman jogger moving past us so effortlessly, her young legs strong; her motion so fluid.
The deepening shadows of a fall afternoon invite us to pause and enjoy the moment. Whether we touch the rough bark of an ancient redwood or smell the sweet scent of a honeysuckle or revel in the sound of a long forgotten song or the laughter of children at play, we find ourselves nourished, graced by the small wonders of life. If only for a moment, our heart is filled with wonder and thankfulness for the gift of life. “What did we do to deserve this?” we ask ourselves.
We owe it to our children and grandchildren to make them aware of the gratitude we feel towards them and the warmth of our love. The next generation should know that old age is not all darkness and pain. They should know that, along with the challenges of aging, there is fulfillment and hope and yes a return to wonder.
If we but make the effort we find that the gifts of our senior years are many; forgiveness, tolerance, gratitude are all our companions as we near the finish line. Hopefully, we become less hardened in our judgments, more accepting of our failings, more humble and above all, grateful for the gift of our years and the God who lives within us all.