Reading Time: 2 -3 minutes
Tony Laws wrote a lovely essay, “We All Need A Safe Haven”, in Sunday’s Dallas Morning News. I am trying to figure out why I want to write about it in a blog that focuses on aging. It touches me on a number of levels. Mr. Laws wrote about the relationship his father had with his wife and two sons. The senior Mr. Laws sounds like a wonderful and wise father. Some of his advice to his son included the following:
Relish the special and ordinary moments of childhood as one is living it.
- Explore the neighborhood.
- Do a good deed for someone less able.
- Be a good citizen.
- Take advantage of every opportunity to learn a bit about anything and everything new and Interesting.
The writer tells the story of asking his father why he and his mother spent so much time doing nothing in their quiet, fenced-in, boring back yard at the end of every day. His father didn’t give an answer. He told his son to remember the moment because the answer would be revealed at a point and time when he was better able to understand .
Now, the younger Mr. Laws, age 51, spends much of his down time with his wife in the quiet retreat that is his back yard sanctuary. He has figured out how to create his own retreat from the yammering world so that he can get up the next day and do what has to be done.
There is much wisdom in this article. The advice was valuable to an 11-year old boy, yet it is the same advice I would give to anyone who wants to be content at any age.
There is so much we cannot control in the world, but we can learn to create special places where we can go to renew ourselves. It has been six months since my mother died. I gave myself permission to take time off this summer to “just sit and just be”. Now that I am back at work again, I miss the carte blanch to do whatever I want, when I want. After five years of being on 24/7 high alert, I had to learn how to stop living in preparation for an emergency.
A few nights ago, after a particularly stressful day, my husband scooped me and the dog up at 9:00 in the evening to go watch shooting stars over Lake Ray Hubbard. We pulled out camp chairs and sat in the dark while the jitters of the day just faded away. We never saw a shooting star, but we didn’t care. It was a sweet respite that enable me to get up the next day to do what I had to do.
Whether we are caregiving or just living, we all need to figure out how to create sanctuary for our bodies and souls. I did not learn how to do this until after I ceased my role as caregiver. Better late than never.
The senior Mr. Law’s advice applies to 11-year old boys, middle aged adult children, and also the very old. How nice that he could pass it on to his son, who could pass it on to us.
When we are young we can learn. When we get older we can keep learning, become wise, and then pass it on again. Find a way to summon your own sanctuary and respite every day.
Caregivers: How do you replenish yourselves each day, so that you can do it again tomorrow?
Copyright TheNewElder 2012