Thursday, October 26, 2006

On Becoming Older

Let me direct you to a very thoughtful essay on Acceptance. I think Lewis has it together on this. It isn't rolling over and taking what comes. It's recognizing the truth in the old prayer: "Lord let me have the strength to change what I can, acceptance of what I cannot, and the wisdom to know the difference."

In the essay he asks why life is so hard for some, and nothing seems to happen to others. I have just a few thoughts on that. Many people try to shelter themselves from life, from it's hardships and from it's risks. They shelter their kids: no playground equipment, soccer instead of hockey, disinfectant instead of letting anibodies develop. They live in gated enclaves or "safe" neighborhoods. You get the picture. Many of these folk miss out on a lot of tragedy because of their carefulness, and for many life still bites them in the ass.

At the same time, many of these sheltered beings miss out on a lot of life. Risk-taking is not in their lexicon. We have taken a lot of risks in our lives, and life hasn't bitten too hard. Chasing dreams may seem irrational to some, but essential to others. We have chased dreams that never resolved into reality, and had some come true. All of them took a lot of sweat and faith. They didn't always work out, but the effort was fun, engaging, and at times risky.

Sometimes I envy those who took the straight road: education, business or career, retirement planning, retirement. No, envy is not right. It is admiration. I never had the discipline or the inclination for that path. I always wondered What if? What's that like? Can I make a difference there? What's over that hill? We who do that pay a price, but we are also rewarded with riches that the safe, rich folk cannot buy.

So acceptance is not giving up. It is recognizing where you are and what you can change.

BRB is Write (and has much trouble accepting anything)


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