Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Gift

A Gift by Leigh Bratina

This post below was sent to me by my "step" ( but to me, steps are only in houses) mother-in law, Jae. I asked her permission to post it on my blog. It resonated a particular truth to me. As I have gotten older (but honey, I ain't old!) I have grown into the person that I was created to be. I express my feelings, sometimes wearing my heart on my sleeve, I have at times been to honest and lost friends over it. But honesty is important. If you cannot be honest to a friend, then you cannot call yourself one. I have grown to know not put to much stock into other peoples opinions, it is how you live your life is what is important. Life is to short! Give your worries to the Lord and live and enjoy it while your here! Leigh

Leigh,The following was sent to me by a dear old friend of mine. We met on the first day of kindergarten in the fall of 1965, and she is a treasure in my life. I just finished reading your entire blog and thought you might appreciate the sentiments expressed in this offering.Jae

A Gift.....The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old.Upon seeing my reaction, he was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let him know...Growing Older, I decided, is a gift. I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body ... the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the cellulite. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror, but I don't agonize over those things for long. I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, and my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avant-garde on my patio. I am entitled to be messy, to be extravagant and smell the flowers. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon, before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4AM and then sleep until -- ?
I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50's & 60's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love... I will. I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the bikini set.They, too, will get old. (if they're lucky)I know I am sometimes forgetful.But then again, some of life is just as well forgotten and I eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when a beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect. I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turn gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. I can say "no," and mean it. I can say "yes." and mean it. As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong. So, to answer your question, I like being older. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day... (if I want). Today, I wish you a day of ordinary miracles. Love simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

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