Now is the Time for Elders

by Paul Pineda

After the chaos and the incessant bombardment of twenty-four-hour news has rained upon us, it is time for us elders to assume our place in this time.  Our loved ones are frightened by the pandemic at our doorstep.

Our people need our wisdom that comes from having lived through our own personal and communal experiences.  In their song Grandpa, Tell me ‘bout the Good Old Days, the Judds ask not for hard facts but about what gave people hope.

Children are asking older siblings, and they are asking their parents.  And parents are looking to us to share of what we remember.  And what we remember was the communal fear and, most importantly, we share the communal sense of relief as our lives returned to normal in past crises.  

As silly as it may sound, the “truths” that grounded my life as a youngster were three constants: a President (Eisenhower) and a Pope (Pius XII) and a Catholic Bishop in my home town (Garriga).  These men were “in charge,” and all was right in my world.  Yet, within a span of five years (1958-1963), these markers were changed in my universe.

Our country was buffeted about by the turbulent Sixties, with its Vietnam War, and the deaths of Kennedy and King. By the end, I remember feeling wrung out by the battering winds of change.  Natural and man-made disasters have also touched our lives.

I connect the dots of my experiences like a rosary that has been my life.

Yet, I want to believe that whatever wisdom I may have as an elder is having learned by connecting the dots.  I connect the dots of my experiences like a rosary that has been my life.  I do not mean to oversimplify life, but I do know that our fear of the unknown plays a great part in how we respond to difficult news.  If I stop and remember the pieces of my life, as I am able to patch together the sameness in each of these events, I am able to see hope. 

And so, it is in times like this that our purpose as elders is to provide hope for those who may not see their own hope.  We are called upon to teach the ancient wisdom of connecting the dots as a way of saying with Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”

Paul Pineda is part of the working group that guides the Spirituality for the wisdom Years ministry. Reach Paul at episcopalnfa@gmail.com.

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