Options and Aging by Carol S. Bannon

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bannon_carolIs there ever a time when losing control of a situation, allowing someone else to take charge without our permission, becomes easier?  I don’t think so.  There are many times when I choose not to make certain decisions…choosing a restaurant for a quiet dinner is best left to my husband…but that is a conscious choice made as a consenting adult.

As adults we are conditioned to take control of our destiny, plot the course, make the lists…and follow through.  To do otherwise would be anathema to many of our natures.   And yet, that is precisely what all of us must practice at some time in our lives.  Illnesses arise or economic recessions may change our financial stability and through no fault of our own, the fabric of our daily lives is changed.  When bad things happen to us, or our loved ones, it never feels right.

I remember very clearly when my own family’s life was not only turned upside down, but cemented into a new place…and I was not happy.  In fact, I spent a long time ignoring the situation.  When I was forced to accept the new direction my family was headed, I became angry and then depressed.  The recriminations, the tears, the “why us” pleas, and even the childish expression of hate…I did it all.  Through no fault of mine, life changed and instead of being able to fix the situation, I had to accept it.

I believe one of the greatest fallacies of getting older is that life will become easier.  How many new parents believe once their children learn to walk and talk, their life will become less complicated?  In truth, once children learn how to walk, they inevitable love to run and you are left chasing them from morning to night.  Once they know how to talk, you find yourself telling them to be quiet more often than not.  The fairy tale repeated most often is when your children leave for college, or became married, or have children of their own, you can stop worrying about them.

The truth of the matter is most of us will never be able to stop worrying.  Even when we know in our hearts the outcome cannot be changed, we continue to try to “fix” the situation.  It is what many of us are programmed to do.  When a doctor gives a diagnosis we don’t like, we head to our computers to google other treatments.  When our children do not get accepted into their school of choice, we write letters and plead with administrators. When faced with absolutes, many of us need to know we have options. When faced without any options, we feel lost and out of control.

That is why growing older is not easy.  Aging forces us to acknowledge our options are limited. The certainty of youth to change situations is gradually replaced with the knowledge that certain situations cannot be changed.   I’ll never forget my father in law, a proud man who started his own company, sharing a glass of wine with me on the night he discovered he had stomach cancer.  My mother in law was in the hospital suffering from lung cancer, and I asked him if I could get anything for him.  He chuckled and told me that at this stage of his life all he needed was a little more wine and a lot more faith.

We all have a bit of Pilate in us.  It is the part of our character that goes in search of other options, the part that says to the world “don’t you know I have the power to ….”  At the end of the day, though, all of us must accept that which Our Father gives us to hold, to experience, to live through…good and bad.   As Christ said to Pilate “you have no power but that which My Father gave you”.   Thankfully He gave us the power to have faith in Him, to trust in Him, when all other options are gone.

Copyright 2010 Carol S. Bannon

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About Author

Carol Sbordon Bannon is a full-time writer with a degree in elementary education from Worcester State University. She is a substitute teacher and has been a catechist for over thirty years. In addition to A Handshake From Heaven, she is also the coauthor of Our Family’s Christmas Elf. She is happily married and currently resides in Concord Township, Ohio. Visit Carol at www.handshakefromheaven.com.

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