When I was young, I lived with my grandparents for a while. Grandpa worked at the High School and Grandma took care of me during the day. I would go to matinee movies with Grandma, and take walks to town with Grandpa and their Scottie-dog, Jock. I went to church with Grandma, where I got a pinch on the leg if I was too restless and rewarded with a licorice drop if all went well. I was given freedom to explore the neighborhood, and sometimes run errands for Grandma. As I grew older, I remembered it as a precious time in my life. And, my love for Grandma endured long after Grandpa died. We got along very well, she and I.
As time passed, Grandma was no longer able to live alone. My parents convinced her to live with them. My own family would often visit them – loving that my children could know my Grandma. Over time, I began to see qualities in Grandma that I didn’t notice in her younger years. By observation, I realized that as we age, those negative traits we are able to “keep under wraps” were escaping for all to see. Grandma was no longer strong enough or cogent enough to hide those problem personality traits that I had not known before. During the years of living with my parents in her old age, Grandma’s kindness to me as a child was not seen in her relationship with my mother. I was saddened by some of Grandma’s now revealed personality traits. I discovered that what is deep inside us lies exposed to the world when we are too old and tired to mask and hid our true nature. It was quite a revelation.
I continued to love Grandma; though I think about this now that I too am aging. Is it too late for me to deal with my “shadows” – those deeply hidden feelings and attitudes that more frequently are beginning to bubble up like gas in a bottle? Impatience, anger and frustration seem to be lurking more frequently.
Therefore, I have a deeper choice to make: with what attitude do I deal with daily life? It will soon, if not already, be impossible to hide the “real me” responses . . . that private person who only shares their true nature with God. But, maybe God is asking me to let him change that. Though I know that anything is possible for God, I know it is NOT possible for me to change my heart responses by sheer inner determination and will power!
So, I choose to trust yet again that, what I give to the Lord, he receives with love and treats with integrity. “Please Lord, mold in me the characteristics of yourself –develop in me your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness.” No doubt, opportunities to demonstrate these traits will arise. But, as Grandma used to say, “Practice makes perfect!” What an adventure—to be changed no matter how young or old we are. As Jesus is given control, in partnership with him, we can age with grace, kindness and dignity – becoming God’s image of who he created us to be. And, what a blessing that will be for friends and family who remain by our side to our own end!
Keep looking up,
© February 6, 2018