Three Old People Talk
Joan Chittister wrote in The Gift of Years—Growing Older Gracefully that “Old age is the time to be dangerous. Dangerously fun-loving, dangerously alive… This is the time to do every single thing we can possibly do with all the life we can bring to it. This is the time to live with an edge, with strength, with abandon. There is nothing for which to save our energy. Now it is simply time to spend time well” (p. 161).
I reflect on Chittister’s words as I think of the topic of this month’s blog, Tolerance and Equality – Bettering our World. We, the elders, have learned and lived through much of our nation’s history. We learned in school about the evils of slavery and how it provoked a division so deep in our country that it took as many as 750,000 lives, based on recent research. We saw the photo of little Ruby Nell Bridges in her Mary Jane shoes and carrying her book bag, the first African American child to intergrate a white southern elementary school. We saw the newscast depicting John Lewis being beaten on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. We saw the March on Washington, and maybe we even participated. Yet, time and again, we have seen the intolerance and inequality as the marginalized in our society advocate for rights guaranteed them.
Perhaps now, as elders who may experience marginalization ourselves, we can understand more deeply the pain of not being cherimportant vital and important members of the American tapestry. Perhaps now we can heed the urging of Chittister and live on the edge with strength and abandon. Perhaps now we can spend time well in speaking out and advocating for tolerance and equality for all.
Photo by Malcome Payne on Flicker (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)