On March 27 our third grandchild, Aurelia, turned 1. Check out the video. She had two extravagant parties that weekend, one on Saturday, the other on Sunday which was a family affair. She was dressed in a lady bug costume and seemed to revel in all the attention being paid to her. Honestly, the party wasn’t for her. She was clueless. It was for adults, for parents of young children who will soon have their child’s first birthday—and who may compete for a better “1st birthday” party with other parents—or for young couples without children who naively say to themselves, “Awww, isn’t she cute?! I want a baby.” Then they get pregnant, and if you have kids you know the rest of the story. They are easy to acquire but expensive and exhausting to raise. At any rate, it made me think about aging. Richard Rohr, in a book entitled The Wild Man’s Journey, comments on aging when he wisely challenges young men to remember the following scenario when considering their lives:
Life is hard
You are going to die
You are not all that important
You are not in control
Your life is not about you
Pretty blunt stuff, eh?! The prevailing wisdom of the day is different. Life is ascent. You must climb higher and higher, make more money, achieve greater success, stay at the top, win. But the hard realities of time can create aged cynics, bitter old men and women, who refuse to accept life’s paradoxes and mysteries. Rohr challenges his readers to consider becoming what he calls wise fools. I think he calls it a spirituality of descent. You grow wise not by ascending to the heights of human achievement but by embracing and descending into the low realities of life.
These are sobering thoughts. As I reflect on being 1 its reminded me of the sobriety of life and even the reality of death. Aurelia’s just starting. My mom’s 90 and close to the finish line. I’m 56 at this posting. I’d rather be a wise fool than a cynic any day!