My daughter asked me this as I came into her house, ready for an adventure with a grandchild. No, I did not notice it. I walked through the neighborhood blissfully unaware that trailing from the top of my pants, a swath of white toilet paper waved.


Do You Know What is Trailing Behind you?


Seriously – I am not making this up; and I glad it was my daughter who tactfully brought it to my attention.

Now, some of my self-portraits mirror what I write. Here I started with the sketch to show myself how ridiculous I must have looked.

Doug wondered if memorializing this mishap would serve any purpose. So, as I wondered myself, I sketched a familiar figure, happily moving with no clue that embarrassment followed close behind for all to see, but her.

Hmmmm. What else follows me – attitudes — that others see, but I don’t?

I wonder if the thoughts I keep to myself – the mini snap judgments; major and long-lasting resentments, and fears – may be observable to others but not so to me. Maybe all my words are eclipsed because a wee bit of hypocrisy is tucked in and trailing.

A peril of old age is jumping to wrong conclusions and passing judgment as we recall earlier days and say “Things are not as they used to be.” We can become negative and suspicious of anything that takes us out of our comfort zone.   

. . .  And then what of the church? Particular issues raise their heads, not the least music and sometimes the way church life has changed . . .  How easy it is to become grumpy old men and women!

. . . The more we stand in judgment of others, the less we show the grace of God in our own lives (A Good Old Age, Derek Prime, page 99-102)

Of course, pastor Prime says there is a place for exercising judgment. But if we are concerned about behavior, or teaching or practice, go to the person; don’t  gripe or gossip.   That’s what Matthew 5:23 and Matthew 18:16-17 urge.

The recent humiliation reminds me: Judgmentalism and unreconciled issues can hang about believers and are as unsightly as you-know-what!

Extending grace, resisting fears because God’s word tells me a better way isn’t rocket science.  (See Psalm 34) So, too  not getting in such hurry I forget to check what might be trailing in back of me is advice I am never to old to heed.


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