Tobago

Tobago
Horizon at Sandy Point

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Prayer for grace

Dance! they said, my older cousins, the uncle who was pleased to teach me ballroom dance steps, aunts who were content to watch the teenagers win'ing, disco-ing, filling the family dance floor with frenetic moves and so much laughter. There will come a time when you will sit many out, they warned. After one time is two time... simple but ominous words to the young. At 18 or 27, you never imagine that you could let good music go to waste. But listening is not wasting. And in the twinkling of a lifetime, you have become your older relatives.

Gone are the long days - and nights - devoted to achievement, to reaching the target. So many nights spent beside a dusty carnival stage, hoping for the next costume or band to stop your heart and send you home fulfilled. So many stages for steel bands and their mesmerizing music. Gone in a heartbeat, alive only in the dim reaches of memory and the pages of an old style magazine made without the benefit of computerized typesetting. Wax and glue, paste up and flats (cardboard templates on which columns of texts were lined up with a keen eye and a sharp scalpel) - now replaced with publishing programs on computers. Gone the zeal for newness and personal accomplishment.

The young - oh how precious is the air of their invulnerability - are always wanting more, new territory, higher achievements. It is the time in life to go where no one has gone before, to push the limits, good and bad. Remember those impulses - going further, faster, higher, grabbing and getting more, being what no one thought you would be - even as they are being replaced by steadier calmer pulses.

Now that one time was then, two time now, we struggle to maintain equilibrium in societies that continue to be in adoration of the young. We desire more flexibility as we age, healthy bodies to keep our minds agile. Perhaps there's wistfulness for the shapes that we will never be in again. But no one should want to remain young. It is our destiny to be in the Age of Aquarius as people with experience and generous hearts. Let us always wish to be in touch with the young - in ourselves, in others and especially in the youth  - but let us open to the grace of being old. Let us grow gentler, more thoughtful, always encouraging. Give us comfort in being slow, deliberate as the heartbeat of trees.

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