Older now, you find holiness
In anything that continues.
Naomi Shihab Nye
As I read this, I was reminded of another expression I heard often while growing up: With age comes wisdom.
Both are very truthful. I laugh often as I get corrected by my children for not understanding something, or for not interpreting something in the same way they do. And while I may agree with their interpretation, or at least understand their way of thinking, deep inside me, I laugh because I know that I know better. But I also remember my own correcting of my mom when she would say something. It is something we understand, as we age: we were all young before, and we we all thought our way of thinking was the best way of thinking.
But Nye takes this idea further. She recognizes that the wisdom we have as we age is more of an appreciation. We become more reverant of ideas and concepts as we get older because we see the holiness in them. For example, in our youth, we don’t appreciate the elderly as we should. After all, they are old and withered and shaky and frail. Their short term memory may not be very good anymore. We don’t realize that they are also full of a lifetime of experiences and hardships and broken hearts and disappointments and total joy and appreciation for each experience.
As we age, we appreciate others who have spent more time on this Earth. We know that extra time on Earth is chock full of experience. We see the holiness in the elderly. But we also are aware of the holiness of a grove of trees that have lived along the riverbottoms for hundreds of years.
We show reverence toward old buildings. My first trip to Europe was filled in awe for how old everything was in relationship to Minnesota’s old buildings and communities. And when I traveled with girlfriends who had never been to Europe, that was their overwhelming first experience. And a year ago my husband and I went to England and Scotland, and he felt the same way as well. It overtakes you in a spiritual way, and you feel the holiness of old and ancient. You know that the past was not perfect, in fact, very troubling, and yet this city, this land, this forest, has been here for longer than anything we can imagine. it is beyond our imagination.
What continues on is sacred and holy.