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All too many times overwhelmed caregivers are physically and emotionally depleted and need to take time to rest and care for themselves. Believing in a holistic approach to caregiver stress and a strong commitment to helping our members find the right solutions, we created this blog to help you connect with others who, like you, may be facing the same eldercare issues and challenges. Feel free to comment, ask questions, and submit articles. Please forward the blog link to your family and friends. They'll be glad you did.

Warm regards,

Patricia Grace
founder & CEO
Aging with Grace

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Gracious Mindset of Seasoned Citizens
by Garry Harper, author & theologian

There’s nothing like a lifetime when it comes to putting mistakes into context. Who among us can’t recall a poor decision here or there that seemed to change the vector of our lives? And yet, when one reaches the age of “real” enlightenment – say 55 – looking back brings far more smiles than frowns of disappointment.

Could it be that grace moves like an arc over the span of our lives? While we’re traveling on the straight line of time, grace moves over and above us at a somewhat quicker pace. It is most distant from us – almost out of our reach – when we’re raising our own children. In our late 20’s and early 30’s we’re tempted to indulge ourselves in sophomoric self-righteousness. Somehow, the mistakes we made in our youth seem so large that we try to extinguish the fires of “creativity” out of our own similarly exuberant children.

Is there a grandparent among us who doesn’t secretly smile at the predictable naughtiness of our grandchildren or even laugh (behind the door of the guest room) at Christmas?

It would seem that the arc of grace finally reconnects with all of us in our golden years. We see things so clearly because we have finally learned that God has a way of teaching everyone what they really need to know just in time to enjoy the human condition. Then, graciously, we’re allowed to graduate into his presence. Theologians define “grace” as unmerited favor. It is only when we reach our full maturity that we finally give in and admit there is such a thing as “the human condition.” Imperfections quietly become evidence of character and we learn to appreciate the characters in our lives. We forgive because we have experienced forgiveness.

I recall my own grandfather. He had a funny way of looking up and off to the right, shaking his head, smiling and making a shhh sound whenever I was caught in the act of some mild misbehavior. Now I know why. I think he was, as I do now, merely having a silent conversation with God as both he and the Supreme Father of us all mused over the predictability of juvenile behavior.

Now that we’re older – and clearly wiser – let’s enjoy the full power of grace. We’re living in a time of uncertainty and we’re watching the next generation struggle through a poor economy and a crisis of confidence in our government. Emotions are high and anger seems to emerge far more often than necessary. From our vantage point the “children” of our nation are fighting over what they believe are limited resources. If they only knew what we know – that God has always provided exactly what we need when we need it – they might relax for just a moment and look upward. There, just out of their reach but still visible, they would see the arc of grace.

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