Thursday, February 23, 2012

WITHERED



Lately I've been lamenting on the geriatrics surrounding me. "What have I done in my life to deserve being surrounded by mean, negative, bitter, hateful, and malicious old people?!" If you've ever been around these types of creatures you slowly metamorphosize into them and the transformation is insidious. If you don't guard your heart and mind from their toxic effects the words that pour out of your mouths will be bitter dribble that poisons the ears of those around you. 


As I grow older and settle into middle age I am resistant to being set in my ways. However, I've been raised around people who criticize instead of encourage, tear down instead of build up, nit-pick instead of bless, focus on the negative instead of the positive, begrudge instead of forgive, hate instead of love. I realized I was already on my way to becoming a set-in-my-ways-embittered-and-withered-old-woman because I've learned to retaliate in like manner. I don't want to be THAT old person in the family whom everyone avoids or ignores at family parties. I don't want my grandkids to steer clear of me or look at me with disgust in their eyes because I make them miserable with my presence. 


When I was lamenting about the old, hateful people around me I realized I wasn't being punished but given living examples of how NOT to be in my old age. I AM hateful, I CAN be mean, and I AM filled with bitterness. But I am capable of changing all of that as long as I am aware and willing to make the necessary steps to walk the path opposite of ugly. Ironically, the day I had this insight I found two e-mails in my inbox that addressed the same issue. One of them was Michael Hyatt's blog entry titled "The Secret to Happiness As You Get Older" gave me a reference point. The secret is to: 


1. Never complain. It doesn't change anything. It only makes you miserable.
2. Be thankful. Treat everything in life--whether good or bad--as a gift. 

I would like to add: Don't succumb to the woe-is-me syndrome. Once you start raging in your own pity parties it will be difficult to pull yourself out. 

The second e-mail that was in my inbox that morning was a Joel Osteen devotional about change. "...when we are not willing to change, we get stuck in life holding on to what God did in the past instead of growing and moving forward into what God wants to do in the future." 

I started 2012 with the conviction to focus on the blessings and be thankful. Although, I haven't written a "Scavenger Hunt for Blessings" installment for the last few weeks, I HAVE written about the things I've been thankful for. I would like to believe that I am off to a good start. I have a choice to make in my life: be a withered, old, unyielding tree or a flourishing, pliant willow tree. 

I'm thankful for the presence of mean, hateful, and negative elderlies in my life; for without them I could grow into a withered old tree.