growing old & letting go

or at least trying to let go.

My niece's graduation open house was this past weekend. My folks hosted it because of the nice set up and parking and the weather was perfect. We were to bring veggie trays for the 140 guests expected to be there. I think it ended up being more like 80 and we have a lot of peppers and mushrooms left. We got there a little late and already a number of cars were assembled in the driveway.

I got out of the car, unloaded my kids and grabbed a cooler full of vegetables when the first guy walked up to me...completely gray headed and said hello.

"uh, hello...uh, long time, eh?"

I had no clue who he was at first. This scenario began to repeat itself. A number of folks were invited from the truckstop...customers and employees alike, well that's been 12 years ago. And then a number of people were invited from my parents' church...I haven't been there in 10 years. And I have to tell you I was struggling with who was who. Of course family was there, such as my second cousin who just graduated from engineering school. Whoa!

Gray hair and wrinkled faces were abundant. My aging great aunt and her boyfriend of 20 years were there. She is 89, and still is a township least while there is such a thing. I had to help her up and down from her chair, and down our front step. And then, for reasons I'll not go into here, Doc Bowen was there. He came in the door and sat down, and people came and "paid their respects" for lack of a better observation. He asked to see me and we talked for awhile-he remembered me and not my brother so I wondered what kind of conversation we would have. Being questioned on a number of different issues made me realize that while physically failing, he still had a sharp mind for least sharp on topics he cared about. He asked if river city's mayor would be elected for 4 more years and I said, that depends on if I run. He got that straight-lipped smile and said that's why he asked. He also suggested the party needed me so that it could be better. I'm thinking about using that as a campaign slogan "Doc says HR's the cure for what ails the GOP". LOL.

A classmate's father recently passed away. You know when your parents' generation is starting to fade from the scene that you too, only have so much time left. And so I think about what it is I have to show for my life....and why I don't take more chances.....and maybe this is just all hitting at an odd time in my life, particularly when viewed from reading Wild at Heart. There were a number of people at the open house who were my age not that long ago.

The author of Ecclesiastes says that "it is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart". Who knows, maybe it's the weather....but I do seem to be struggling with the temporalness of life and permanence of my endeavors on this earth. It would seem that being aware of this is healthy. But now what?

Over the years I have had to "let go" of a number of things. Things at church, work, politics, family, get the picture. Some I still struggle with. Believe it or not, our family has just cause to hold a grudge against Doc. As I sat there listening to this man revered by so many across our state, holding in my heart some pretty significant hurt, I looked on him almost in somber pity. Finding it difficult to turn his head, or hold it straight without his chin hanging down....something in my gut said, "you too some day will sit here, trying to find some value left to your life". And then that hurt went away.....because it just didn't matter anymore.

This is already longer than I intended. But I wonder if looking into old faces doesn't turn a light on our own soul. I'll be writing more soon about letting go.


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