"Grow old together with me; the best is however to be, the last of life, because that which the very first was made." -- Robert Browning
"Gray hair is a crown the glory; it is got by virtuous living" -- Proverbs 16:31
I was certain this to be the rationalization of someone end the hill as soon as I very first encountered these words as a young college student of English literature. However, Robert Browning"s tribute to period in his poem "Rabbi Ben Ezra" intrigued me sufficient to it is in remembered right into the latter days of mine life. And, top top reflection, I check out his wisdom.
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Robert Browning actually wrote these words when he to be 52 year old and also a widower, 3 years after ~ the fatality of his lover wife, Elizabeth Browning. Perhaps he to be dreaming ... Wishful thinking, because he had so deeply love his wife. Literature experts believe that the an interpretation of the city was that a human being is not to it is in measured through his or her job-related capabilities, yet by character molded by time and also life.
Throughout my life, as soon as asked around beauty, I always seemed come startle my interrogators by stating that the most beautiful woman I"d ever seen to be my grandmother. She had a soft, lilac beauty about her. She face constantly wore a smile, crowned by silver hair waved gently to a bun atop her head. She carried herself through dignity, yet warmed to mine needs and also those that others. She contented life with my grandfather reflected perfectly, "Grow old together with me; the finest is yet to be..."
Youth is for this reason encumbered with anxiety -- pressure of education and then that acquisition and career. With well over 50 percent of marital relationships failing, include the strain of relationships. Whereas I execute not median to minimization acute problems of period -- health, an overwhelming monetary position and also loss of love ones. I only notification that I discover my latter years and also those of numerous others somewhat an ext comfortable, often an ext productive and frequently more enriched.
Many instances are easily accessible of the ability of those in their later on years. Laplace functioned on his astronomy until he happen on at 70, crying, "What we recognize is nothing; what we execute not recognize is immense!" john Milton created the 10-volume "Paradise Lost" at period 57, 13 year after becoming totally blind. Ludwig Von Beethoven composed his nine Symphony ~ he came to be deaf in the fifth decade that his life.
Grandma Moses started painting as soon as most human being retire. Bismarck walk his greatest work after he to be 70.
My own mother, in the eighth te of her life, created a library and also school in Pakistan when there v my dad who, additionally in his 70s, operated as a consulting technician assisting that arising nation. My husband, in his 80s, conducts his own business.
When there an initial was legislation proposed in the Ohio legislative branch that would have enabled life-support equipment to be discontinued because that the yonsei in hospitals if the medical personnel considered their top quality of life to be less than worthy that continuation. In ~ the time, over there were two legislators there who were father and also son. The father was very ill in a regional hospital whereby he had been confined for some time. His son refused to support the invoice stating the a person"s present productivity should never it is in criteria for whether or no he or she could contribute to the human being in other ways, and also should never ever be reason for enabling one to die. The invoice went down in resounding defeat.
Peace and also serenity
Now, together I reflect ~ above my very own life, I have the right to see exactly how "the critical of life" have the right to be the "for which the an initial was made." together a youth who an initial heard this words, I had my people ahead the me -- health, hope, possibilities -- yet I to be not regularly deeply happy, contents nor serene. I experienced acute sensitivity and also had year of challenging strivings front of me.
Now, together I walk through the more mature years of life, I uncover I"m freed indigenous the painful extremes of sensitivity, and also that the year of striving have actually woven themselves right into a smoother towel of harmonious relationships. There is a relaxed serenity, now, under which lies a common denominator that contentment. Certainly, problem come now, together always, and I foresee many an ext as age creeps on, but I see them indigenous a different perspective and also their relative prominence purports much less emotional stress. Ns sit top top a cushion the a lifetime of experience, and am buffered through the good memories save on computer for merganser days.
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After all, Goethe created "Faust" shortly before his death at 99, and Gladstone took up a new language at 70. Mary Sarton, as she wrote a poem practically every job of her 80th year, noted in she journal: "And where have actually I been? v a thicket the ill wellness into an particularly time the happiness and fulfillment, more than I ever dreamed possible."
After make one"s means through the labyrinth of youth, with character molded on the anvil that life, the does seem maybe "the finest is however to be, the last of life because that which the first was made."
(Adapted from version published in Companion of St. Francis and St. Anthony, April 1990, and in Rivista Siglio XXI, 1996.)