There But For the Grace of God… Go I

He approached my passenger side door and mimicked eating as a way of asking for money for food. My first reaction was fear. I wanted to lock the car door, but was ashamed of being afraid of a homeless person. He went away.

When my husband returned to the car we went around the corner to continue our errands. This time my husband stayed in the car while I went into the store. Upon returning to the car, the same homeless man approached me. Again, I rebuffed him. When I entered the car my husband saw a look of distress on my face and asked what was wrong, and at that same time, the homeless man approached on the driver’s side door. My husband gave money to him. I had been given  two chances to do the right thing, but I didn’t.

Today, I visited the Celebration Center for Spiritual Living, and Reverend Hall invited members to talk about miracles they had seen or experienced. A lady in the congregation told a story of a time when one of her mentally ill clients began wailing in a doctors waiting room. The other waiting patients became overtly annoyed with the expectation that the attendant would remove the woman. The attendant said she didn’t know what came over her, but she stood  and loudly proclaimed  “there but for the grace of God, go I”, and suddenly silence blanketed the room, even the mentally ill person quieted down.

It was then that I realized the answer to my dilemma regarding giving to panhandlers… there but for the grace of God… go I.

Age Is So Much More Than a Number

Bio pictureAll my life I have been obsessed with hiding my age beginning with overstating my age on a job application when I was 14 and too young to work.  Later in life (20ties, 30ties), people would say I looked very young for my age. In my 40ties, that response was heard less frequently, and one day a handsome young man (25 to 30) called me Mam.  That was soon followed by one of my adult students (35ish) who said I reminded him of his mother… OW! And by the way… I was not old enough to be his mother!

I became adroit at avoiding the subject of my age and one day my adult daughter said even she was not sure of my age. When Internet sites requested date of birth, I finally had the freedom to be whatever age I wanted.  Again, my daughter called me out when she saw that my Facebook age made me years younger than she was.

Today, I find myself at another birthday milestone. I had wanted to celebrate with a capital C, but due to a variety factors… it did not happen, and I admit that it was my fault. I hemmed and hawed about what I wanted to do. Was going to celebrate with girlfriends, but got off track by attempting to share the birthday celebration with a very dear friend, and the calendar got away from us. Hubby wanted to take me to the Four Seasons restaurant, but I rejected that in favor of going to an old standby. So my left brain says “you should celebrate on the actual birth date”; “you can pick whatever date you want to celebrate”, but my right brain says “it’s not important, let it go”. Jill Taylor, author of My Stroke of Insight, would say I can decide which half of my mind to follow; ergo, I shall follow the advice of my right brain. (Note… I highly recommend her book.)

But I go astray, let me get back to this problem I have with telling my age. My husband’s continuous response is that age doesn’t matter, but it absolutely does. We use age to define ourselves and others. To the ten year old one might say “you’re big/small for your age”, and to the ninety year old one might say “you’re so sharp for your age”. I cringe whenever I hear about a senior who causes a car accident for fear the powers that be will place restrictions on all senior drivers. And, by the way… who is a senior?! Frequently, after my exercise classes, the thirty-somethings will marvel that I can keep up or exceed them in the workouts. At first, I felt complimented, until I realized I had been pigeon-holed again.

But, this is the year that I am getting over this whole age thing. Instead of avoiding the pigeon-hole, I am relishing being a role-model. I want people to see me and say Wow… I want to be just like her at that age.

Stay tuned…