I continue to be surprised as I age at the things I use to hear my parents and other adults say when I was younger. I vividly recall my Mom saying to me, “Don’t wish time away.” I think I understand that now.
There are many surprises in aging, but for me probably one of the most stark and yet most welcomed surprises is my determination to be my real self. I finally feel that I have no time to waste being what someone else expects me to be.
Now that does not mean that I toss caution to the wind or forget the importance of kindness, quite the contrary. I now understand how important those things are.
But, that being said, I am thankful for this time in my life which allows me to know, beyond doubt, that I need to stand up and be counted for things that matter — things like poverty in our world, climate disaster, racism and other forms of discrimination — living out the words of Matthew 25: “when you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto me.”
Big things do matter, and this time in my life allows me the luxury of knowing that “if not now, when.” If I don’t make clear how I feel about important issues, then my silence can be construed as consent. There were times when maybe I didn’t want to rock the boat, but I heard sermon once that asked the question “When are you going to get out of the boat?”
Yes, now is the time for me to get real on things I might not have been real about before. I remember reading a quote by Jules Renard, who said, “It’s not how old you are, but how you are old.”
And lest I get too caught up with the urgency of this task, may the poetry lover in me always remember the words of Robert Browning:
Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”