There are some lessons only wisdom and experience can teach us.
I have worked with the aged for many years. In doing so I have gained wisdom beyond my age. For it is only those who traveled down the road before me who can report back what lies ahead.
I take time to listen and by doing so I gain a new perspective of growing old.
Yesterday something triggered a memory that, at the time, felt so powerful that I consciously filed it away as one of those gems I knew I’d not soon forget.
They were having a birthday cake for one of the residents in a nursing home I often visited.
While lighting the many candles one man jokingly called it a “fire hazard.”
There were so many candles that by the time they sang for her, some had already melted down. Still, there weren’t enough. She was 85.
After all the happy singing and memories shared, I sat next to the birthday girl.
“I hope my cake becomes a fire hazard,” I said. She smiled politely.
We sat quietly for a few minutes just taking in the moment. I believe that many of those in attendance were flipping through the pages of their own life. Memories of good times and not so good tip toed through their minds filtered somewhat by the natural aging process. I think in some way we unknowingly apply selective memory tactics and later on in life see things the way we want to rather that the way it was at the time.
Suddenly a young volunteer came to give the birthday girl a hug.
“So, what great advice can you give me for a life well spent?” she asked.
The woman paused for a moment and said, “All of us have a light that we share with the world. It is real. It is who God created us to be.”
She stopped for a moment as she gathered her thoughts. When speaking with older folks it is always important to be patient. One must never hurry them. They didn’t rush to get here, so wait and listen intently to what they have to offer.
She continued. “Some people see our light as dimming. It has only grown brighter. The candles on the cake are evidence of that.”
The young girl was about to leave when I motioned that she should wait. I sensed that the best was yet to be spoken.
“We blow out the candles but our light remains brilliant. God is the source of our light. It never dims. How can we?”
There it was. The young girl looked at me and whispered, “Thank you!” She was glad she stayed.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, psychiatrist, a pioneer in Near-death studies said:
“People are like stained glass windows, the true beauty can be
seen only when there is light from within. The darker the night,
the brighter the windows.”
England Dan and John Ford Coley sang:
“Light of the world, shine on me
Love is the answer
Shine on us all
Set us free
Love is the answer”
May there be too many candles for your cake!