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  • Writer's pictureLeanne W. Smith

The Gift of age

For me, one of the gifts of age is finally feeling like I have the right to my opinion. Because I’ve lived and had occasion to observe, I know a thing or two.

So here’s what I know…

The sun will come out tomorrow.

I’ve lost track of the dark nights of the soul I’ve had. Last night was one of them. Tossing in bed that led to sitting in a rocker in the dark, so much swirling in my mind that sleep would not come.

Dark nights of the soul…when you need time with God to pour out what troubles you…all those things you can’t fix, don’t know how to fix, so you end up in a heap begging for the fortitude to wade through the unknown with the least amount of damage. Then you drag yourself to bed at last, spent, and when you open your eyes next morning, sunshine is there to greet you.

The orb still rises.

Life is full of curveballs.

The best laid plans of mice and men, right?

Most of the time I bumble along, with no hard plan at all, really, except to suck the marrow out of life like John Keating. But when a curveball zings in and knocks me to the ground, I still resent the disruption.

I suddenly think, “Yes, I was headed somewhere; yes, I did have a plan. And this…was not…it.”

So what am I going to do about it?

I have choice.

Victor Frankl said the last of man’s freedoms was his ability to choose his own attitude.

There is so much in life I can not and do not control. But I can control my response to the chaos.

To curveballs. To unpleasantness. To challenges. To misfortune.

I have choice. I can screw up my nose and heart, ball my fists, and stew in resentment. I can point my finger at God and say, “If you really loved me…” I can kick the can, kick the dog, kick the fencepost until my toes hurt.

Or I can write down the good things. I can lend a helping hand. I can listen to a song that makes me feel less alone. I can tell someone how much I love them, or better yet, show them with an act of grace.

Let’s face it. Life has hard moments.

Like in the last four months we had drain flies, pneumonia, poison ivy, broken bones, death, and a yard sale. And a woman took my daddy’s IHOP mugs.

The only items I regret from the yard sale are those two IHOP mugs. Because my daddy liked them and asked a waitress one time if he could buy a couple, and she sold them to him. And I didn't realize they were in the box and wish I had gently removed them from that woman’s hands and said, “No, this is a mistake. Those mugs are not for sale. They will never be for sale. You can’t buy mugs like that, because those mugs are a story, and I want to remember that story for the rest of my life.”

To the woman’s credit, when I laid a hand on the mugs and hesitated, she saw my doubt and asked, “Are you sure you want to sell them?” And because I’d put my big girl pants on already that morning,

I nodded.

Then I let them go.

Because like it or not, life is full of curveballs. But I have a choice. And the memories are mine to keep forever. Like the cultivation of my attitude. And the sun—the sun will be back out tomorrow.

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