Have you ever felt like a rebel without a cause? I’m talking, “I am woman hear me roar” rebellious. More and more I’m finding myself to be more rebellious the older I get. I’m not sure what’s happening here. I’m finding that I’m challenging things that have been placed in front of me, questioning authority, pushing myself a little harder and not backing down for the sake of argument anymore. I suppose it isn’t rebellion so much as growing up. Although, most of the time it feels as though I’m rebelling. Maybe, finding my voice; is a better choice of words. I’m sure many would argue that, that has never been a problem for me. I will agree that there was a point in my life where I had no filter on my mouth. There was no censoring of what I was feeling. I’m not sure why that stopped. Some would say that I matured, some that motherhood changed me. Maybe it was a little of both. I remember at one point feeling that there was no use in stating what I felt because it fell on deaf ears. Now, I feel like I should say it, whatever it is, for my own sanity; for the sake of not bottling things up, for the reason that I don’t want to return to feeling that what I say falls on deaf ears. I’m not afraid of arguing anymore. I’m not afraid to fight anymore.
I think of my grandmother a lot when I think about how my life is changing, about how I’m changing. I think about her wild spirit and how my grandfather always tried to tame her, to tame it. Is this what happens with age? With maturity? We end up reverting back to the freest version of ourselves? I should hope so.
Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess:
Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity.
Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends.
Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point.
Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing.
I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong.
Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces.
Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.
by Margot Benary-Isbert