by Carol Anne Lawler, Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region
I don’t know about you, but I tend to get bored easily. As a result, I periodically try different ways to entertain myself. When I heard about the triathlon training at the local Y, that decision seemed to be a good idea…at the time!
Did I mention I tend to jump in with both feet before thinking it through?
The first day we were running in uptown Charlotte, I took a wrong turn and began hanging out with the uptown crowd. The second time we ran, it was on a track. Not wanting to overdo the workout, I opted to walk the last lap. When I explained to the coach I had one more lap to go as I walked part of the way, she said, “You know, you really should challenge yourself and keep running. You are stronger than you think you are.”
As I continue to participate in this training, the coach’s words stayed with me. I may well be the oldest person who shows up every week, and the slowest, but I keep going! Her words, “you are stronger than you think you are,” remind me of hard times I have experienced in life, whether due to a job loss, personal struggle, or health crisis, and, somehow, I’ve garnered the strength to endure…. I can’t help but think, especially as we age, we are indeed, stronger than we think we are.
Consider, losses we’ve survived, lives we have positively affected, hard won accomplishments……Now, let’s take a moment and revel in the ways we have risen above our challenges.
Not only do we have personal challenges, our country is also experiencing much turmoil at this time. No one is immune to the violence and protests in a world that constantly seems to be on edge, waiting for the next incident. The slightest provocation causes many to react with anger, and even rage. We may feel as though there is nothing we can do to make life better, other than taking sides and blaming those who are not on the same side as we are.
As older adults, we can join the hoard of angry Americans who scapegoat and blame, or we can use the history we’ve lived and the wisdom we’ve gleaned, to add our voice of reason to debate, as we know to take the longer view. Perhaps our role is to remind ourselves and others that love is stronger…..Love is stronger than whatever the situation, the conflict, the loss. And when we believe this to be true, we must act accordingly. Otherwise, fear wins, and anger seems to be the only solution. Love believes there is always another option. We just must may not have thought of it yet.
This Franciscan blessing motivates me to strive for higher ground. I close with these good words:
May God bless you….with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths and superficial relationships, so that you may live deeply within your heart.
May God bless you… with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, peace and freedom.
May God bless you…. with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection or loss, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort and transform pain into joy.
And may God bless you….with enough foolishness to believe you can make a difference in this world, so that together we can do what others claim cannot be done.
Carol Anne Lawler is the Faith Community Educator with Hospice & Palliative Care Charlotte Region who would love to speak to your faith community or civic group. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.