Her Good Advice Endures
In the mid-1990’s we met, and this character’s demands, SNAP OUT OF IT, still proves wise counsel in my autumn’s garden season of life. Scowling and primly attired; her hands on hip; her command resonated. More than two decades later, Mary Engelbreit’s character still looks me straight in the eye, and still dispenses a necessary bromide: “Snap out of it.”
Back then, Doug and I were part of the Sandwich Generation. In addition to running a small company, we were taking care of kids and parents and other older family members. Now, we are on the way to becoming part of our kids’ sandwiches.
Lessons I Didn’t Know I Was Learning
Our folks and their aging siblings taught us many lessons the value of which I am coming to appreciate on a daily basis – beginning with the lesson commanded by Mary Englebreits’s character: Snap Out of IT! As I am now on a similar path that my mother, her sister, and my mother-in-law walked, I appreciate their struggles over so many bumpy days. Their gracious gratitude is worth following. And I am grateful for the hard times with other folks who taught me three no-no’s, as long as we have the ability to say no to them. Titus 2:12
Self-pity comes in many costumes. Snap out of it! It’s best for all concerned to skip dressing up in any of its silly gear!
Willfulness too can be disguised as a simple desire, wanting things to remain as they have always been. Snap out of it! The reality is
- We aren’t going back to the good old days of me being in charge. (As if I ever were) and
- We may need a little help that if we accept will make life easier on all who are trying to help.
Complaining – Is my life in danger? Then speak up! Otherwise, Snap Out of It! Here’s where having an open channel to God can filter our worries as we communicate to those who are helping us. One of the great things about God is He close to the brokenhearted and never leaves us when we find ourselves in dark, scary places. (Psalm 23)
Old age is full of dark scary places, isn’t it? We can wind up in places we may have sworn to ourselves we would avoid. But one day, here we are.
The only thing we can change is our attitude.
Decades ago, God modeled this truth in the lives of many folks I loved. He also showed me what not changing an attitude in old age can look like too.
Managing our expectations, so that none of them becomes a demand, was the most important lesson I learned from older relatives. I hope I can pass that on. I hope I can live it! Because . . .
Of all the highlights of 2016, a bright one was hearing our oldest grandchild say, Mimi, I am going to get to know you, as it dawned on her and me, this time, there would be no plane to catch or road trip to begin – no awkward farewells or eyes brimming with tears.
I hope the kid likes the me she will be seeing more of! I hope I can pass on the lessons so many taught me – Beginning with Snap out of it!