Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Choosing to Age Gracefully

"As we pass through the Land Between, it is critical to recognize that not simply the hardship, but also our reaction to the hardship, is forming us....our responses both reveal the person we are and set the trajectory for the person we are becoming.  Whether we age with grace and poise or become bitter, resentful people is largely determined by our response to disappointment and the habits of response that often result."
-Jeff Manion, The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions, emphasis mine

My sister lent me this book...she found it at a store during a point in her life where she was experiencing what we all know as a "hurry up and wait" :  Waiting for her last semester of grad school and student teaching to start with a thesis to be done and a job to be found.  She has recommended the book to many friends, but graciously lent it to me first :)   It's an easy read focusing on those moments in life where something cataclysmic happens (i.e. unemployment, death in the family, illness, etc.) and how to deal with the aftermath.  I think it would be safe to say that the above paragraph is the main gist of the book. 

When I read the quote for the first time, I couldn't help thinking of the older people that would come to the deli when I worked at Wegmans.  Most of them were a joy to serve, but some of them were really grumpy.  If you were too slow, if you didn't cut the meat right, if the pound was just a little over, they let you know it.  These people have not aged gracefully. It always made me sad to see them angry about a piece of meat.  According to Manion, these people have developed the habit of responding in that way, and that's what made them bitter and angry people.  I don't want to be like that...now or when I'm old and ordering my pastrami at the local deli.  I would instead like to take my disappointments (big and small) and cast them on God (1 Peter 5:7 ).  I want to cultivate that habit so I can let God shape me through my hardships and disappointments, grow closer to Him as I bring them to His feet and as a result grow old gracefully.  And maybe give those poor deli workers a break :)

1 comment:

  1. Having worked in retail I also know the people who have not aged gracefully. The ones who do are beautiful not only in body but in spirit because they let their patience and love shine through, even if they're not having the best of days. I aspire to be that kind of person as I age, too.