“Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’ For it is not wise to ask such questions. Wisdom, like an inheritance, is a good thing and benefits those who see the sun. Wisdom is a shelter.”
My mother used to say, “Getting old ain’t for sissies.” She was right. I always thought it would be a cinch to grow old gracefully; then I crested 60 and found out differently! That’s why the following prayer written by an anonymous saint from the seventeenth century means so much to me…
Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older and will someday be old. Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody. Helpful, but not bossy with my vast store of wisdom– it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends at the end…
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point swiftly. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing, and love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by. I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of others’ pains, but help me to endure them with patience. I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a sour old person — some of them are so hard to live with and each one a crowning work of the devil. Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in unexpected people. And, give me, O Lord, the grace to tell them so. Amen.
I sure do see myself in this prayer; do you? If so, “pray” it again in your own words.