HAPPY NEW YEAR!
In our home, you can tell it is a new year by the piles of "stuff". First, holiday decorations to be thinned out, sorted and stashed, then new gifts to be put away, and finally, boxes to be stored or broken down & recycled. Furniture needs to be moved back into place, or rearranged, then some major house-cleaning to put all back in order. I enjoy going into a new year clean and re-organized.
Most of this is only what's visible, but many more piles of stuff clutter my interior, the deepest parts of myself, that I also try to sort out and adjust at least once a year. Modes of operation, habits, and adjustments (planned or otherwise) are facts of life and I believe learning and growth are life-long endeavors.
As the years pass, I find myself more and more looking for venerable role models, those respected "elders" whom I would like to emulate because, to me at least, they exhibit certain characteristics of aging gracefully.
They are the ones who are wise and have gleaned a world of understanding from their lifetime. They are honest, hard-working folks who know and demonstrate that honesty is the best policy in all things, even if it is not the popular stance.
They treat others, regardless of their economic or social status, with respect and garner great respect in return. They show compassion for other living things - human and otherwise - and contribute in some way towards the improvement of lives.
They have their opinions and know where they stand on issues, but are eager and willing to listen to those who differ and try to also see things from their viewpoint; they are not afraid to change their minds.
They have learned what is really of value in this life, where energy is best spent to do the most good, and where it is utterly ill-spent and useless.
They are grateful for what they have, still curious, interested in and full of wonder of, the world and its inhabitants.
They value and strive for peace, are generous and forgiving. They are not afraid to say "I was wrong", "I'm sorry", or "I made a mistake" because they know that none of us is perfect; failure is just one more way not to do things and the lessons learned are priceless.
They love others for who, and where, they are. They adjust to, and learn to live with, the infirmities that come with aging, making no excuses for who they are or where they've been, for they look ever outward and do not dwell on themselves.
Where are these near-perfect people? No one, elderly or otherwise, possesses all of these enviable traits, but plenty of individuals display some of them. Look around, visit with, and become acquainted with someone whom you admire.
On the surface they may seem quite ordinary; on the inside they may be anything but. If a chord rings true, get to know them better and strive to glean some of their knowledge. It will be worth the trouble and will serve you well in the long run.
It's a brand new year and once again I'm cleaning my interior house - how about you?
Who is wise and understanding among you?
Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility that comes from wisdom...
...the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure;
then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.
James 4:13, 17-18