In My Sunday Journal I wrote about a statement Baylor chaplain Dan Scott laid on me when I performed there last week. He said, “As I get older I see two things: life gets harder and harder but it also gets better and better.”
Seldom has a statement resonated so completely with me. So I asked readers of my Sunday column to tell me about their personal experiences of life getting harder and harder, yet better and better.
I got a rich treasure trove of responses to share with you today.
Faithful reader Evelyn said, “I have just learned the definition of ‘hard’ when my Daddy was 80 and still roofing his rental houses and fell one day on a rusty nail, I asked him why on earth a man his age didn’t hire the roofing done. He hugged me her real tight and said, ‘It is so hard.’”
It reminded me of my father’s retirement at 65. After a few weeks, mother said, “Your father wants to go back to work. He goes out and walks the orchard like a restless animal.” I said, “Mama, he loves to get up early and pack his little lunch box and go to work. Please encourage him to do what he loves.” She did and he had ten more years of pleasurable employment. Thoughts of retirement got harder and harder for him and work was one way life got better and better.
Tammy Greene of Wildwood wrote, “When I was young I tended to run in circles. What has got better and better is seeing insignificant woes transformed into an awareness of what is important in this life. What is important is taking each moment as a precious miracle.”
I was impressed at how many younger readers like Tammy talked about how much better life becomes when lived in the now. Many said in essence, “I didn’t even know who I was when I was young and finding myself gets better and better.”
Former mayoral candidate Doug Brown, now ensconced in his Kingston nest, wrote, “The thing that has become harder for me is holding a grudge (because) life is getting better all the time. Radiating positive energy outward gathers positive energy inward.”
Many readers talked about health problems as the “getting harder and harder” part of their lives but former Performance Magazine writer Bill Littleton of Nashville wrote, “As I get older, staying mobile takes a lot of energy. The good news therein is that I have met some wonderfully compassionate people in health care and that adds an extra bubble of appreciation to my life.”
Trion reader Mary Ann Brooks finds it harder “realizing there are things I will not accomplish in this lifetime.” However, she mentions a compensating factor, as did several others, of an upsurge in creativity. She says, “My songwriting keeps getting better because I let go of trying to write a ‘hit’ and focused on writing from my heart.” I am pleased to share with her that the same thing has been my experience. I think less about what Nashville might like and more about creative ecstasy.
A teacher wrote, “I know that life is not a bowl of cherries. It is more like a banana split. There’s the sweetness of ice cream, the stickiness of chocolate syrup, the hardness of nuts, the lightness of whipped cream and the nourishment of bananas. Now and then you get a cherry and you know life is good.”
A reader seeking peace over an old sin finds life getting better and better as she “knows God loves me and is with me and that someone cares to know the beautiful person I am.”
J.D. Smith from out in Wyoming helps us complete the discussion with a touch of humor: “Remembering what I did last week is getting harder and harder. Forgetting what I did last week is getting better and better.”
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