Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. – Proverbs 1:8,9
I wish I would have known then what I know now. Surely, I am not the only person who has said this. I know I am not, because I have heard at least four other people say it this week. We all have said that, or at least felt it from time to time. Looking at past decisions and the foolishness that brought about that decision. We often feel that if we would have had more information or better information, we could have avoided the mistake or disaster that occurred. The truth of the matter is that the information and offering was there. Insight, experience, and compassion were at our disposal and are so today as well.
We have a generation of people that have lived through what we are living at the moment. Survived the seemingly disastrous situation with which we are dealing. We have friends, family, and other believers that have made it through the valley and know where the pitfalls are. We have every bit of that, and yet we don’t seek it often enough. The United States has the distinction of having a larger percentage of our population in elder care facilities than any other country. Now, to be fair, sometimes people need a level of care or even want to have the atmosphere of an elder care facility, but not always. Regardless of why someone is in one of these facilities or even if they are on their own, we don’t engage them often enough. We might even sit down to have a conversation, but do we seek their guidance? I am ashamed to say that I don’t, not often enough anyway.
I am finding, more often than not, that this wisdom and experience are invaluable. These creases of wisdom shown on a seasoned face and silver highlights of experience in a person’s hair are truly waiting there to be used. I know that I want to share so much with my son regarding danger zones and pitfalls that I feel almost burdened with what I haven’t shared. I have dear friends that are in the winter of their lives that, without a doubt, have that same burden for me.
The solution is simple: ask and you will receive. Ok, that is not how that Scripture is directly used in the Bible, but the truth remains. If we take the time to really engage in a conversation with someone senior to us, we can ask the life questions that we might hesitate to ask otherwise. Asking makes us vulnerable. Asking shows our inadequacy. Asking is admitting we don’t know everything. Isn’t it funny to think we really have that fear? To admit we don’t know something, when we can so readily see that in others? Imagine asking a question of someone who has not only faced the same situation, but has seen the positive and negative outcomes of their own decisions. We have that opportunity staring us in the face; all we have to do is take hold of it and step out in faith.