Our Elders

Our hearts are revealed by the way that we treat
our elders.

They can be an encumbrance and a weight, mirroring our own
mortality. They do not always say the things we like, agree with or want to hear. Maybe they behave in the ways we think elders aren't supposed to behave. It requires a person of substantial heart to see past these facts
and to the wisdom elders have to share, teach and offer and to serve them and
care for them out of gratitude for the life they have passed on.

In this culture, it isn't easy to have gratitude for
our elders. Our culture views elders
like a burden that offers no promise, any hope. They are often a sad, gray presence hidden behind phrases like
"retired person", "senior citizen" or 'the elderly".
Often, they are pushed aside into irrelevance, tolerated or feared. They are
not sought after, honored or even loved for the wisdom their years have
imparted to them.

One of the things that has been pressed firmly into my
memory banks and has grown deep roots over the years is the importance of elders. Reverence for elders and those who have traveled the road before me has become intrinsic to
my spirituality and philosophy. I have
been taught that there is no other life so near in time or as close to my own
as the elders who saw the world that I came into. It doesn't matter if theirs was the most
limited, ordinary or simple life, you will never be so near the world you
arrived in as you are when you are speaking to an elder. For this alone, elders are to be honored and revered and listened to.

Elders offer a glimpse into our futures. They were you and you will be them one
day. From them we can learn what it is
to age and learn how to deal with life on life's terms everyday for years at
time. From them we gain wisdom, knowledge and insight. And each time they are in your presence, they remember their earlier
lives. Every opportunity you have to
listen to an elder tell a story, give counsel or reflect makes you wiser in
ways you could not have possibly counted on or imagined.

Go to the elders with a pure heart, without notions of
obligation. Observe their ways and hear
what they have to say. As you are
listening and watching, learn the lessons they have to teach. Love them. Honor them. Revere them. It is
through the elders that you will gain knowledge of your past,
gain insight into your future and the wisdom to
appreciate your present for all it is worth.

Copyright © 2007 Krishanna Spencer

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