This post is an exercise for WordPress’ Blogging 101, in response to WP’s Daily Prompt, which asks “do you have any Good Old Days?”
In her delightful collection of short stories, The Devil Storybook, Natalie Babbitt tells of a little man being tempted by the devil, who wants to trick him. The devil, seeing this happy, contented old man, says that he will grant the man any wish, anything his heart desires.
The little man looks up at the devil, who is in disguise, and says, “I can’t think of anything to wish for. I don’t really need anything.” The devil suggested to him, “you’re an old man. You could wish to be a young man again.”
The old man responded, “Oh, that was a good time, but I was young and just starting out and I had to work so very hard. No, I don’t think I would want to be young again.”
Well, the devil tries to tempt him with other ages, middle-age, being a boy, to which the little man says, “Oh those were good days, but I don’t want to go back there.” Finally, the devil asked him “Well what age do you want to be?”, That was the little man replied, “The age I am now. You are the one who keeps suggesting that I change my age.”
Recently, my 86-year-old mother came for a visit. We spent five days remembering. Just remembering. We talked about Dad, we talked about grandparents, brothers and sisters, we talked about different events in her life and my life. And as we’ve talked, and looked back over our lives, it was apparent that we saw that it was all good. Yes, Mom tells me that we were poor when I was a kid, but I sure didn’t know it. I was too busy having fun. My brothers an my sister didn’t know it. We were all too busy growing and learning.
And yes, in my adult life, I can look back and see struggles, maybe even hardships, but nothing major, Nothing that isn’t just what life gives you. Wife, kids, college, work, church. Would I change anything? Oh, there might be one or two decisions I’d rethink, or changes in what I did (like trying to live a healthier lifestyle), but on the whole, no.
And that’s the blessing of wisdom that comes with getting older. You can see how things worked together, how different strands were woven together into one seamless life tapestry. And, like God, you can reflect on your work and say, “it is good.”
Salad days? It seems to me that there are no “salad days”, but merely a life that is lived day by day, week by week, month by month, and year by year, until a whole is completed.