Young and OldShe stood by the older woman in the line to greet the pastor after church. She'd given her friend a ride, otherwise the older woman wouldn't have been able to come. They let me in ahead of them and we talked as the line moved toward the door of the church. The church had both brought in new members and had members move away that day and as a result of all those welcomes and goodbys, congratulations and hugs the line moved more slowly than usual. We both asked the older woman if she wanted to skip the line or sit down, but she was okay. I thought about the younger of the pair later that day. She's my age, roughly, maybe ten or fifteen years younger than her friend. We're not ready to be driven around yet, thank you, but neither are we spry youngsters with energy to spare. She takes care of her friend out of a sense of duty and love, but also, I think, out of an awareness that younger people don't really get. I think they know intellectually, but there is something that comes with living through the longer seasons of life - children grow up, political movements come and go, neighborhoods decline and rise again, friendships are lost and gained - that brings humility. (There's also the list of aches and pains that just seem to keep getting longer, but self interest isn't what this is about.) The kindness of a ride to church. A small act of love. Love is one of the few permanent fixtures of human experience and when you've lived long enough to have seen the impermanence of everything else maybe you just want to help pass it on.
1 May 2007
Copyright © 2007 Truck Smith