Thursday, December 16, 2004
Do you want to start feeling your age? Then have the following conversation with your child or any child:
I was on my daily commute to take my first-grader Leo to school, when we began on a conversation of family lineage. As I laid out the family tree for him and spoke of his great-grandmother Mary, Leo asked whose grandmother she was.
"She's my grandmother, Leo. She was Grandpa Hoedl's mother."
"Like Grandpa Hoedl is my grandpa?"
"Yes, Leo, exactly."
"So when I am a grown-up, you'll be an old grandpa, Dad?"
(gulp, reality kicks me) "Yes, that's true."
"And when you're dead, I'll be an old grandpa?"
"That's the way it works for everyone, Leo."
On the very date of my 42nd birthday today, I've taken a moment to take stock of this past year, and I've witnessed four noticeable changes within my life:
Why is this occurring within my life? I'm not exactly sure, but I have one idea...
You more than likely have heard the phrase, "Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional." As you age yourself, the phrase itself will become both humorous and profound to you. But also within this simple phrase is a paradox - one that may gradually change the way you live your very life; and allow me to share with you what I have recently learned from this paradox...
"...growing up is optional..."
We will each come to our own self-realization over time that we will all physically succumb to old age and eventually, the grave. It is a somber thought and one that will be greeted with either personal peace toward how we have lived our life or regret for all that has been left unfulfilled. The eventuality of our reaction to this realization is dictated by our choice, being lived out each and every day of our life. It is our choice, for "growing up" and accepting responsibility for our life and its outcome is, after all, optional. And here is where the paradox lies...
For the very height of our growing up is dictated by the very depth of our bowing down. There comes a time in our life when we begin to realize that:
Read those five statements again. In my own acceptance of these statements, they leave me humbled. For each of us, they leave us feeling vital, but not all-important. For each of us, they leave us knowing that we are influential but not all-powerful. For each of us, they leave us being entrusted, but not all-controlling. For each of us, they leave us humbly bowing down, kneeling, in the sight of this great and mysterious presence called Life. And in that bowing down, we are each growing up...
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