8/1/09


A traveler on a dusty road
Strewed acorns on the lea;
And one took root and sprouted up,
And grew into a tree.
Love sought its shade at evening time,
To breathe its early vows;
And Age was pleased, in heights of noon,
To bask beneath its boughs.

(Charles MacKay)

It was Seneca, the Roman statesman, who wrote that wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness. No selfless act is insignificant. I was thinking of this today, in terms of the aged. Sadly, how often I've seen an older person, slow with age and infirmity, looked down upon with disdain by a fresh and young face. Perhaps instead of becoming impatient with the elderly woman attempting to open the door, perhaps, just perhaps, you could graciously open and hold the door for her?

I am reminded of a story by the Brothers Grimm that stirred my little heart when I was a child. The story was about a feeble old woman whose husband died and left her alone, and so she went to live with her son and his wife and their little daughter. Every day her sight dimmed and her hearing grew worse and sometimes at dinner "her hands trembled so badly the peas rolled off her spoon or the soup ran from her cup." Her son and his wife couldn't help but be annoyed, so one day after she knocked over a glass of milk, they decided to do something about it. They ended up setting a small table for her in the corner, next to the broom closet. She sat there alone, "looking with tear-filled eyes across the room at the others." The story goes on to tell that one evening right before dinner the little daughter was on the floor playing with her blocks and her father asked what she was making.
"I'm building a little table for you and mother," she smiled, "so you can eat by yourselves in the corner someday when I get big."
I think this story will become more and more meaningful to us the older we grow. While we ourselves are young, we must teach ourselves and our youth to appreciate and respect the aged. We must not slip out of opportunities to encourage our elders-- we need to show them our love when we can. I wonder what our youth of today will think when they become advanced in age, I wonder how their youth will treat them?

4 comments:

Adam D. Dolce said...

I like soup.

Chelsi said...

Miss you, miss! Looking forward to catching up...

melanie's all my favorite things said...

oh...how you weave your words. what a touching blog. thank you for the reminder of the power of kind words and actions!

Gail said...

This story touched me...my own mother was suffering towards the end of her life and now whenever I see an elderly person who is moving slower, shaking, etc. it always reminds me of her.
Now I always have patience for those elderly people, and really hope that someday someone younger will feel that way if they see me and I should be in the same state when I'm older.
It's very simple, the golden rule.......