“You reap what you sow”—is a lifestyle axiom that exists in almost all religious traditions. At this time of life, we’re “paying later”—dealing with the consequences of actions or inactions that took place long ago. It’s a tough part of being older, an expected phenomenon that’s still irksome. (Some examples: We didn’t floss when we were younger, and now the endodontist is our new best friend. Saving money wasn’t high on our list earlier in life and now we may be trying to figure out how to live on only Social Security income. Or perhaps at this time in life we’re dealing with the natural effects of a poor diet—emerging physical conditions that are costly and vexing of our spirits.)
Because we all pay later—who’s lived a stellar past, hmm?—perhaps the only question we have to face is our own reaction to what is always true: Consequences don’t disappear by magic. Two choices come to mind:
• Carping and moaning about the supposed plagues that are now visited on us, and blaming others in order to hide the fact that we’re blaming ourselves.
• Admitting our youthful shortcomings, asking for forgiveness and rescue—from God and from those we might name as consequence-bringers. Forgiving ourselves. (Along with those spiritual postures comes the possibility of seeking help.)
The first option may seem to be the easiest—continuing to shove responsibility off ourselves. But that just prolongs or amplifies the agony. The consequences of that approach could be worse—an angry spirit, emotional dishonesty or broken relationships with those who could assist, support or forgive us. Not good.
The confession-and-forgiveness route is the sturdiest, most mature way to approach this inevitable part of growing older. Sowing hope in order to reap satisfaction even later in life.
Makes sense, hmmm?
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