Rethinking Our Lives The Legacy of Our Story
By George Campbell Hage, Ed. D., Ph. D.
Over the years, I have been a counselor of youth and families, as well as a pastor, where I have served many elders. As a senior myself, I have come to the conclusion that our story, our autobiography, is the greatest legacy that we may leave to our children and those who follow. In fact, our story, our life, is the greatest power that we possess, and it can empower others. It is more powerful than money or any material good that we may consider leaving behind. Our story is so powerful because it conveys great meaning and wisdom.
Essentially, wisdom arises from the source of our life experiences, whether through tough times and places through which we have found ourselves and, even now, may find ourselves. These have been our challenges, our mistakes, our shortcomings, and our limitations.
We have been discouraged into believing that we were less than we truly are, as beings fully human, endowed with power to rise up. But, in rising up, we can reach out and build up ourselves and others. In doing so, we experience and convey the wisdom of meaning and purpose in life.
Our senior years is the time to rethink our beliefs and reshape our feelings and beliefs. Through this process, we can change the way we see ourselves and the way we see others and the world around us.
As the old adage states: “As a man thinketh, so is he.” That is, we are subject to our minds more than we are reality. As we have struggled to do well for our families and ourselves, and to make a great impact in our jobs and in the world, but we have often stumbled and fallen in the face of many heartbreaking challenges and setbacks. Some of us became well off economically while others of us have not.
Many of us have become imprisoned in the mind of have not, whether materially or with overwhelming self-pity and the depth of defeat and loss. Yet as seniors, we are not being fair to ourselves when we think in such terms. Instead, we must rethink by seeing ourselves as we really are. We are survivors. We have been given much knowledge through the multitudes of trials through which we have passed.
Rather than focus on the pain and seeming loss through these trials and errors, we must now see and believe the lessons that these trials have taught us. We must refrain from obsessing about the pain they have caused us. Instead, we must become imbued with the revealing joy of wisdom. We must consider these trials and mistakes, not as enemies that hurt and bury us, but as steps by which we rise to the fullness of creative wisdom through our life’s story.
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