To be half a century plus is wonderfully exciting, because I haven’t lost any of my past, and I am free to stand on the rock of all that the past has taught me as I look to the future.
Madeleine L’Engle, A Circle of Quiet
Gerry and I like to watch a television program on PBS called Finding Your Roots where the host, Henry Louis Gates Jr., takes guests on a journey into their past, uncovering mysteries about those who came before them. It struck us a few days ago as we watched, how one simple choice made by an individual can radically alter the course for generations and generations that follow. This is something I think about a lot, and the program brings it to life in fresh ways.
I ask myself what I want my choices to be based upon, knowing they have the potential to alter the life of a great-granddaughter and beyond. At half a century plus, I bear the scars of choices I made when I relied on my own (lack of) wisdom—as do those I love. I could have done better. Choices I make today will have less of an impact than those I made at twenty or thirty but still: I can do better.
I’ve come to know that my own discernment is faulty. I’m prone to rely too heavily on feelings. I, too often, seek immediate and fleeting relief from pain. Stop, Truth whispers. Ask. Then listen.
It is in the discipline of stopping, asking, and—most important of all—listening, that I find wisdom to walk through the rest of this life in such a way that those who follow might be blessed.
And every time the answer comes it is clothed in love and I know that I know that if we could just get a grip on the truth of that deepest of loves it would change the world. Stop. Ask. Listen.