“When a knowledgable old person dies, a whole library disappears.” –An old African proverb
I read an article today from my local newspaper titled, “Older people have knowledge to share—if we just listen” by Bob Rudy. It caught my attention for several reasons, one being that I spent time as a hospice volunteer a few years ago listening to the fascinating stories of people’s lives. Not only was it interesting to me, but the way their faces lit up as they told their stories turned out to be a gift for both of us.
I’ve also been working on my families genealogy for over 20 years now. I was fortunate to start it at a time when my parents were still alive, and as I dove into it I found myself wanting to know more about what their life was like growing up. They’ve both been gone a long time now and still I have question I wish I would have asked. I can’t imagine what it’s like to have never taken the time I did though to get to know them. It is true as the quote states as each family member passes away, a whole library disappears.
The other reason this subject is close to my heart is because I am a story teller myself, and as the younger generations calls us, I’m an older person myself. I like the phrase that getting older is not for wimps, because it is a time in a humans life when we have to work really hard to hang onto what we have. Sometimes it even feels like your slowly disappearing, fading into space as we lose our hearing, sight, coordination and many other facilities that make you feel like a child again. But ask us to tell you one of our stories and we become energized. Our eyes will light up, and just maybe we’ll feel like our lives matters once again, and you’ll hear a real live story like the ones you read in a book you borrow from the library.
Today’s question in my daily reading asked, “Do you love yourself enough to let go of that which no longer serves you?”
What a great question to ask on a daily basis.
We change every living moment of our life, but we don’t think about it.
Only when change creates pain does it come into view. Whether it no longer serves us or not, change is hard but necessary for new growth.
Change doesn’t ask us to give up who we are. It asks us to love ourselves enough to let go of that which no longer serves us. And in the process of our own life’s transformation we eventually become the butterfly.
Socrates said, “To know, is to know that you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge.”
He also went on to say that, “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.”
If I’m a pessimist, I’d probable look at these two quotes and say, “What’s the use in trying!”
However, through the optimistic outlook we are able to see the endless possibilities between the words. I don’t know all there is to know, and I never will know everything, but when I think of all I’ve come to know in the years I’ve lived…the wonder of what I’ll come to know next…is something I can’t wait to discover.
In Plato’s allegory of the Cave, he describes a group of people who have lived chained in a cave all of their lives. A big fire burns behind them as they face a blank wall. All they’ve ever seen are the shadows projected on the wall by the thing that passes in front of the fire behind them. They begin to ascribe forms to these shadows, using language to identify their world. The shadows are the only perspective they have. Therefore, it becomes the only thing in which they can base their own reality. That is until one of them finds his way to the outside world where he sees the actual objects that produced the shadows. He tries to tell the people in the cave of his discovery, but they don’t believe him. The one who escapes has discovered this great knowledge that goes beyond the cave. Unfortunately, from an unknown limited perspective…the others foolishly resist and ignore him believing they know all there is to know. (This is my own synopses of “Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.”)
This allegory blew my mind as I read it thinking about what a great example it is of how we let fear keep us from going beyond the boundaries of our own limited knowing. Our very own intuitive voice tries to get our attention by saying, “really!” Is that all you want to know about the things you’ve come to believe? Just like the man in the allegory who escaped his chained existence there is a freedom that comes when we allow ourselves to step beyond the unknown. It is there that we find the endless things yet to be discovered. I hope I don’t ever get to the point where I think I’ve learned all there is to know. What a great way to end our day, if we could add to our nightly prayers, and gratitude list, one new thing we learned that day. I think I’ll step outside my cave, and take the challenge. How about you?