December 3
The great thing about getting
older is that you don't lose
all the other ages you've been.

Madeleine L'Engle


Today's Meditation:

I'm not sure that I get this idea from Madeleine in the way that she means it, but I certainly do get it.  I've felt this often in my life--a strong connection to the kid that I was at age eight, to the teen I was in high school, to the young adult that I was in college and when I was in the Army.  The connection that I feel to those other people that I've been is inexplicable, as if they're completely different people than me, even though it was I passing through those ages of my life.

Some people try to deny their past, or at least forget it, as they age.  And to a certain extent, there's value in staying focused on the today in which we're living right now, and not dwelling on the past that's gone for good.  But on the other hand, I think that in our past experiences--the past ages that we've lived through--there are innumerable riches that can be quite beneficial to us if we allow them to be.  After all, much of who I am now is a result of who I was then, and which decisions I made at different points in my life.

The people who we are today are less a result of include the people we have been.  I have been a six-year-old, so I know the joy of running through the sprinkler on a hot summer day.  I've been a 14-year-old, so I know the joy and the agony of crushes and infatuations.  I've been a 30-year-old, so I know the satisfaction of a job well done and the expectation and adventure of moving to new places and visiting new lands.

The question is, of course, this:  are these parts of me that I appreciate and understand and make use of, or are they things that I've forgotten and make no effort to remember?

Questions to consider:

Why do we so often think that our pasts aren't useful or important to us today?

What are some of your  most positive experiences at each of the different ages that you've lived through?

How might you get in touch with the ages that you have been without losing touch with the person that you are?

For further thought:

If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older.

Abraham Sutzkever


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