By Kate Anderson
I was four years old when I blew out my first birthday candles. My parents did favor the flaming pillars of life celebration, and any caregiving figure from my childhood knows my lungs functioned well enough. But alas, the occasion of my birth was happily celebrated for many years by older [and quicker] siblings who gleefully deprived me of this magical moment.
Video footage captured hundreds of these and other “tragic” childhood events. Moments of tattle-taleing, backseat-squabbling, and tortuous-teasing between my siblings and myself live on in media and memory. But when we remember the good old days, all the not-so-grand dissipates in light of the loving journey that has been this life. Watching home videos fills me with a sense of hopeful wonder.
Most videos, anyways. Some clips would be better left unwatched. I cringe to think of snippets that highlight days past of prideful, worrisome, and naïve youth. Our best remedy for fighting discouragement of yesterday becomes the Psalmist’s prayer: Remember your compassion and love, O Lord, for they are ages old. Remember no more the sins of my youth; remember me only in light of your love (Psalm 25:6-7). The Lord is in the habit of remembering but not for the sake of scrutinizing past mistakes or analyzing old ways. He sees every blunder with the compassion of a parent who knows their child’s well-intentioned heart. These matters are seen with gentleness in the light of God’s love.
Our Father loves all his children beyond measure, but He must love the elderly with extra abundance if His compassion and love are ages old like the Psalmist says. I understand this well since the senior crowd has always had a special place in my heart too. Nothing like listening to the stories of one whose laughter and love reveal deep-rooted faith. The compassion and kindness that flows from these geriatric gems is simple – like a child.
The days ‘til my young age catches up with my old soul are drawing nearer, but I don’t need to wait until I’m ages old to capture this goodness. Anyone can pull out home videos or spend time with kids: their simple wisdom is obvious. That unflappable spirit of adventure guides children over every hill and hurdle. No kid likes to be sad or scared, but they sure know where to turn when life hurts (as every warm embrace and inviting lap imitates the love of our heavenly Father and Blessed Mother.) Children splash in puddles and get messy for the sake of fun. Beautiful colors, lovely lights, and small spectacles are all occasions children celebrate so well.
Remembering implies a backward glance. Though I have great aspirations for my elderly years, my best chance at remembering the light of love is to recover my childlike spirit. Kindergarten and cartoons won’t lead me to compassion. But holy play and leisure? Belly-aching laughter? Unquenchable hope in our heavenly Father? Who couldn’t use more of that?
Home videos, sweet Littles, and the Word of the Lord all speak the same truth: Nobody can steal the brilliant glow of God’s burning love for His children. Whether you’re ages old or years young, the Lord faithfully remembers you through every stage. May we seek to recollect our childlike joy and find wonder in each day!
About the Author:
Kate Anderson is a young lady with an old soul. She spends her days communicating and marketing for a Catholic school. Kate enjoys conversing with kindred spirits over warm beverages, reading spiritual books, and returning to her rural roots.