I know a man who is amazing. he is 95 years old. Yep. and he is funny and smart and still sharp as a tack. he is not, however, the most stable walker in the world. His limbs are beginning to get the better of him. He is holding out as long as he can, sometimes using a walker, sometimes a cane. He should be using that walker 100% of the time, but he’s pacing himself – or something.
I feel for him. So deeply. He is holding on to his independence. He’s holding on to the notions of himself he’s been carrying around for 90+ years. Losing those capabilities, you lose a bit of yourself. And nobody likes that.
But, Jesus told us, we must become like little children. Little children who aren’t married to concepts of the self, who trust in the progression of things, who innocently meet the day. We need to die to who we used to be to become the person we are now. There is spiritual freedom in this concept, but the personal cost is high.
Having to grieve the loss of my physical capacities was incredibly hard, but not nearly as difficult as contending with the meaning I gave the process – what it meant about me, my value, my worth, how useful I was in the world. It completely f@cked with my sense of myself and my relationship to the world. It was grueling. I needed to find my value outside of every. single. thing. i previously attributed to myself. I had to be enough just as I was, abilities dwindling, vulnerability increasing, I still had to be OK. This was virtually impossible. Luckily, I had Tucker. He is beyond supportive. His holding a space of “my value” being by virtue of my simple being – taught me how to grow into that space. It still took a long time and some agony.
I’d really like to talk to this wonderful old man about this process. Admittedly, I’ve gotten most of my physical capacities back, but at the time I was losing them there was no guarantee. He has a guarantee that once it is gone, it is gone. And that is different than my situation. But the world that has opened up to me because of the process of accepting my limitations (slowing down) and still being able to be in my worth – I want this world to open up to him. I want him to see the opportunity for growth (he’s a really spiritual guy) instead of the perspective of just the decline of who he used to be.
But, he’s going through a lot, and just about the last thing he wants is advice from someone like me. It’s inappropriate for me to even go there. Makes me sad, though.
Don’t mourn the chrysalis. Fly.