Parabola June 2017
When I was born, I could not walk yet. I couldn’t even crawl. First came rolling over, then sitting up, then crawling, then toddling, (which is distinctly different than walking) then walking and finally running. As I have aged I have gone from running back to walking, next will come toddling, then crawling (now that I am sitting on the floor, what else can I do while I am down here, oh, there is that fork I dropped under the table last week) then I will need help sitting up, then help rolling over. The cycle completes at that point, yet . . .
What is not parabolic are my experiences. This life of learning feels like a bunch of moguls on a ski run, but more accurately it is a straight line with the previous section tying neatly into the next. Knowledge compounds on previous knowledge. By the time I need a walker and a four-wheel scooter I will be at my peak. Here is where a Christian attitude can make all the difference. As long as I am alive, I am learning and growing, but more importantly, I am in a position to give back – to share that information with others.
It makes me so sad when I see someone that is a treasure of learning and experience who just gives up on life. The very time of their greatest ability to help others becomes a time of collapse. It is often an emotional result of other important incidents like the loss of a spouse, the inability to perform the work of their life’s profession, or the loss of driving privileges. Improper bodily functions, mobility, hearing deficiencies, loss of appetite, among others can contribute to this sense of uselessness. Yet, in all of life we have had handicaps which we were able to overcome. On the uphill side, we lacked knowledge and experience; on the downhill side we have less capability to carry that knowledge to others. The importance of the internet these days, when it comes to the transfer of information, has made it easier, but many seniors have not taken advantage of the new technology. The ones who have, love it. Those whose lives they touch are blessed.
How do we bridge that gap? I have had the joy of writing a biography for someone who has lost 70% of his ability to talk. In the last few years of his life, though we never know when, the facts of that adventure would have been impossible to assemble. So we captured the story just in time. Of all the things I miss because my parents have passed on, it is the ability to ask them questions about their past. What was their medical history? What year did we move from Dallas to Memphis? Why can’t I remember where I was in fourth grade? Too many unanswered questions that will never see a response.
So, no matter your age, share your life with those you love. If they won’t listen, at least write it down. Tell them what is important to you. Share the wisdom.