I dare to write this only because, as an octogenarian, I feel I am still growing. The Journey goes on and is not just about “getting there;” it’s also about all the changes – adventures, misadventures, insights and oversights, successes and failures, and everything in between – along the way. While recalling one’s story, a self realizes it took every single moment to get to the present. And that as they move toward the future, they leave no moment behind. The truth of them, the whole truth, moves with them.
I find a certain peace in accepting that awareness, as well as an affirmation of my humanness. The image of a well-weathered tree with all its rings of growing fits. The core is solid and intact while each ring, as the tree grows, adds its own history to what is past. Each offers vivid evidence of a life force, which I prefer to label “life reach” since that is how we claim our growing.
To date, I have not been truncated. Bent and cautious limbs scribble my growing across a sky I am still reaching for. In each new winter I remain curious about the coming spring and wonder how my aged roots will shape my growing. which has helped me learn that life can find a meaning in every moment. Being here is where I am supposed to be.
At age 60 I wrote a piece called, “The Clock Never Goes Tock-Tick.” It was then I became aware of time and aging. These days, while the clock may be ticking more loudly, I am not feeling much older than I did back then. Well...maybe a little. The past stretch of years, especially, are among the richest I’ve lived. And I am grateful. There have been losses, painful ones, but also breath-catching growth out of the scribblings of my reach. And I am curious, in this moment, about what comes next.
I am aware of my past and, for the most part, appreciate my growing, most of which was in my early years and was mostly reactive, then eventually proactive. But ... it took all of that to get me here. I have been fortunate that love, like faith, has been a constant in my reaching; both energies from my roots. And in this moment, in this gift of time, I trust each of them to keep me growing.
It can’t go without saying that life was never meant to be lonely, that no one grows alone. The touch and caring of others, their being that entwined with my own, sometimes in passing, or over years or a lifetime, can be like God’s fingers working the clay of me, or kneading the yeast of meaning into my spirit.
Growth, like love, takes one to places never imagined and, sometimes, beyond knowing – and, ultimately, home.