May 12, 2008

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Grandpop’s Hat Isn’t Crooked Anymore

Not long ago I traveled a few blocks to visit my daughter. It was a warm day, the windows were open. I knocked a few times but no one answered. I opened the door to look in.

There was my 3-year-old granddaughter wearing nothing but a diaper, a crooked baseball hat, a pair of sunglasses and a string of beads. She came sliding across the floor towards me in her mother’s very high heels.

I quickly picked her up and hugged her. I had to. I was breaking into laughter and did not want her to see my glee. As I held her I realized that I was really laughing at myself. As we grow into adulthood, all of us are naked; naked of the foundations we need to be mature. Our hat allows us to actually walk in the wrong direction for long periods of time. We like to hide behind those sunglasses so others don’t see who we really are. We acquire many types of masks to wear so people notice them instead of critically evaluating us.

How often have we tried to copy someone else in our uneasiness about ourselves? We seem to slide from one model to another in our quest to discover who we are ourselves.

But as we grow older, it is so comforting to relinquish these escapades. Age allows us to find the correct direction, to accept who we are as we remember our accomplishments. “Things” become unimportant because persons have replaced them.

As we grow to maturity, all of our accomplishments integrate; they manifest meaning, and we no longer need the mask. Even our failures have merit as part of the infrastructure of the person we have become.

Older people no longer need models which they strive to become. We have become the footprint which calls to others to follow.

Aging! It is the fullness of love, learning and service.

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