I think I've come to the realization that I've been looking at this aging thing all wrong. I mentioned before that I attend a ladies' Bible study once a week where the majority of the moms are the same age or younger than my oldest daughter. The past couple of weeks I've found myself sharing my past personal experiences as much as relating to the current challenges of the younger mothers. After our meeting recently, I was sharing with our study leader my feelings about that and I was actually apologizing for sharing so much of my experience. She assured me that my "wisdom" was more than welcome. I would not call me wise. Wise is when you put your knowledge to good use. I don't always do that. Very often, I do exactly the opposite of what I know I should do. That's a LACK of wisdom. Maybe it's a different story, however, when it comes to parenting. I like to think that the majority of the time I put what I've learned from past parenting experiences to good use. Like sharing it with younger moms.
It's strange to think that I have now become one of those experienced moms I gleaned advice from when I was younger. Especially when I just don't FEEL older or wiser in my mind. My body, on the other hand, feels older than its age. That's another story. In spite of the fact that I've been on the front lines of motherhood for almost 34-years, I don't feel qualified to give advice. The opportunities to do so keep appearing though, so maybe God thinks otherwise. I feel so humbled by it all. I might even go so far as to say I feel almost embarrassed after words of "wisdom" spew forth without me even thinking much about it. There it is though - I'm older, more experienced than a lot of moms I know, and still in the trenches. My "wisdom" seems to be appreciated and for that I'm grateful. It makes me feel like I'm more useful than I thought and what a blessing that is. I want to be very intentional, however, about not giving advice where it's not wanted. Nobody appreciates THAT.
I've often heard that one of the scariest things about growing older is a feeling of uselessness. Feeling like you've served your purpose and there's no more for you to do. I've not experienced that yet. I
don't usually have time to even imagine it. Feeling irrelevant now, that's something I've struggled with and the cure seems to be having my experience appreciated. Okay. Let's settle the "wisdom" issue right now. Yes, I may have grown some wisdom over the years, but I'm no sage. Far from it. So, let's just refer to what I share with my young mom friends as experience. I share my experiences. I'm much more comfortable with that. Good. I'm glad that's settled. Suffice it to say that when I get to share my experiences as a mother with a young mom who hasn't had that experience yet and could benefit from someone who has, it's very gratifying. I consider it an honor and a blessing. I'll remember that the next time someone more experienced than I wants to share their experiences with me. That's what I consider a full-circle blessing. They're blessing me with their wisdom (they ARE wiser) and I am blessing them by listening. Everybody benefits. Yay!
Until next time - be a blessing by simply listening.