The Future is no Scarier than the Past / Old Age has its Perks

 

at 18

at 18

at 20

at 20

 

 

 

jeep_elf3

at 36 with my family

 

at 75

at 75

I finally figured out that all the people I ever was from infancy on still live inside me. It makes for an interesting group most days. And if I don’t like how I feel today, I just return and watch the world when I was having a better time. Young people actually seem impoverished, because they haven’t got a clue about the riches we old guys carry around within us. I wouldn’t trade, because we can go back and be their age inside our memories, but they can’t come forward and enjoy the pleasures of a party without having to drive miles, spend hundreds or pay later with a hangover.
We do know more dead people and we have seen more tragedies up close and personal, so sometimes we hover protectively over our grandchildren. But we can look back at the past and our track record helps us trust that grace will continue to get us through even the hard things the future may bring.
As bad as our world seems in 2015, anyone having experienced life even in America for almost eighty years has witnessed a lot of rough history. Though we now know more about the evil in the world than we once did, the evil was always there. I find when I focus on the evils we haven’t overcome, I fear for coming generations. But when I look back even just on the changes in the world that I have experienced personally, I become more hopeful for the future.
Is having an armed presence in your school any more terrifying than living in homes with blackout curtains for fear of enemy bombers in the nineteen forties or huddling in a school hall during practice warnings of atomic attacks in the fifties. Is the number of families in this generation with members lost fighting in foreign countries anywhere close to the number in the second world war? Is fear born of lack of information as severe now as it was when we huddled around a radio to listen to news of Pearl Harbor or the beaches of Normandy. Children still die or are crippled from disease even in first world countries, but nothing like the numbers in the years before the polio vaccine. Are the numbers of African Americans isolated in ghettos, killed by police, harmed and held back by prejudice anywhere near the numbers in the fifties? Are all the top jobs in the corporate world still held by men? Are people still dying from aids at an alarming rate even in the first world? No matter how horrifying terrorists are today, have they managed inhumanity on the scale of Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, or even Harry Truman at Nagasaki?   The answer to all of these is no.
Yes, there are new diseases, new dangers, new stresses and new groups struggling for equality. It is obviously not heaven on earth, but humanity is a work in progress. Our track record gives us reasonable hope that we will find ways to overcome more and more of these problems in each era.
Age, if we look at even our own life span’s historical picture, can give us a perspective.

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About Eileen

Mother of five, grandmother of eleven, great-grandmother of seven, 1955 -1959 Rice University in Houston, TX. Taught primary grades; Was Associate Post Director of Religious Education at Ft. Campbell, KY; Consultant on the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator; Presently part time Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper for Architect husband of fifty-seven years. Blog: Laughter: Carbonated Grace

Posted on January 3, 2015, in B4Peace, evolving, fear for the future, Gifts of Age, hope, Political, Spiritual, Suffering and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Just beautiful, Eileen. You write well, but this seems so well done as it just flowed from you. Gorgeous pix! We do well to hold on and pray for the next generation and their own.

    Diana

    • With 11 grandchildren and 7 great-grands praying is a full time job! One 22 year old grandson is teaching in Afghanistan and one son in his 50’s teaches in a Cambodian orphanage for children born HIV positive and my niece is teaching in Saudi Arabia. One teen-age
      granddaughter here suffers with Autism and another suffers from dangerous depression. I keep a large group of praying friends sort of on retainer for our own family, never-the-less all those we know in crises or ill health. All prayer support gratefully accepted!

  2. The fear has shifted over the decades. As a child, the fear of the sociopathic parent. As a young mother, the abusive husband. After leaving, the fear shifted to being able to care for and protect my children. Despite the children being grown, we worry about them and then there is the environment and man’s inhumanity to man. Je suis Charlie, Nous sommes tous Charlie! Léa

    • Yes, the fear does shift and the more people we love the more vulnerable we are to loss. You have survived extreme challenges and survived.
      Life has not hardened your heart or dulled your eyes to beauty. Joy and suffering are two sides or the same coin, the coin of love.
      I always am touched by your poetry and awareness. Thanks for reading my blog and sharing your own experiences of fear and survival.
      I will think of you by the name, “Courage” because you have survived in spite of your very justifiable fears.

      • We often hear someone blame their behaviour on things that had happened to them in childhood etc. I can clearly remember being a tiny girl and declaring to myself that I would never want to hurt anyone as I had been. We all make choices and it had to be what I could live with. Léa

        • Pure grace on your part to not pass on the evil. Your life is a perfect example of the challenge I have been thinking and writing about in my next blog: What If it Only Takes Ten More People Becoming a Little More Loving to Change the World? Thanks so much for sharing your journey. It gives me hope that we can change the world simply by the choices we make in our own small lives.

          • It can take one person to change things. It is called Circular Causality (In the mental health field – my previous work world). When we change, we cause those around us to change as well. Yes, it is true, some of them will pull away rather than change themselves. However, that eventually brings about further change. Never give up! Thank you for your kind words.

          • I haven’t given up. It’ s why I struggle to become more loving and why I blog. I just have to let go of requiring results to reward my perseverance.

          • I just stumble through with my own two feet. They are love and patience with all the kindness I have. C’est la vie!

  3. LOVE the photos of you, Eileen…radiant at every age (and I especially treasure the “Fantasy” one :)). Thank you for sharing them and your graceful wisdom. Spot on and so well articulated. Brava.

  4. Thanks for telling more about your life and your family. I. too, have thought that all the evils and misfortunes in the world were always with us. Grace and a sense of humor help me enjoy the wonders and absurdities of aging.

    • Hence the name of my blog: Laughter: Carbonated Grace. I have laughed more in my seventies than all the years before put together. Of course, it’s mostly when I’m home alone and catch myself putting something weird in the fridge or looking for my glasses while they are on my head!
      Delighted to connect with someone else whose greatest treasures are grace and a sense of humor. I am so grateful I lived long enough to enjoy the wonders of the internet.

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