“Do you have a Living Will?” the nurse asked.
“Yes,” I said.
“Do you have a DNR clause? You know, ‘Do Not Resuscitate’.”
“Have you had a heart attack?”
“Okay, good. Now relax while I take your blood pressure….Well…it’s a little high. But, that’s normal, given the circumstances.”
I thought I was fine. Jesus, it’s just cataract surgery. Why all the questions about DNR and a heart attack?
Welcome to sixty-one. I’ve crossed the barrier. DNR is a legitimate question, I guess.
Sixty was an awesome year. For one, I walked the Wicklow Way with my wife, daughter, son-in-law and some amazing friends. That was a hundred miles through the rugged Irish mountains. I put in another two hundred miles getting ready. And I carried my pack, fully loaded. I’m getting ready for another walk this coming summer.
Truthfully, sixty was great. My book was published. I spent an awesome four months on sabbatical, writing another book. Cathy and I started 2Wisdoms Way Spiritual Formation School. And some beautiful things are going on for our children. Our daughter-in-law and son are having another holy grandchild. Our daughter got an amazing promotion. Hell, I even got some extensive tattoos on my left arm and back. Sixty…well, was amazing.
Okay, the cataract and lens replacement surgery went pretty well. Actually, I didn’t realize how bad my eyesight was until I could see again.
So, what’s up for the sixty-one year? I don’t know. But, I feel good about it. And that’s the incredible part of it…every day I become more and more comfortable with, “I don’t know.” What I trust is my intuition. Maybe I should have answered the nurse’s questions by saying; “I don’t know, but I feel that all will be well.”
My grandfather used to tell me, “With age comes freedom.” At the time, I had no idea what he meant. He was a truck driver. I wasn’t sixteen at the time. I figured he was telling me, when I got a driver’s license I would have a lot freedom. Turning sixty-one, I realize now my grandfather was talking about the freedom that comes from being old enough that you don’t sweat the small stuff, but instead focus on the more important issues of life. A friend used to tell me, “Major on the majors and minor on the minors.” That’s been a good lesson for me to learn—and be reminded of, often, as I get older.
For me, one of those “majors” is the desire for wisdom. I used to think that simply by the virtue of getting older and having more experience, I would automatically acquire wisdom. What a naïve thought. Wisdom is one of those paradoxical virtues in life. According to the scriptures, we must seek the instruction of Mother Wisdom—while at the same time we pray that she finds us. We search for wisdom with the desire we will be found by that same wisdom (Wisdom of Solomon 6:12-20). You can’t find wisdom unless you search for it, but you can’t find it unless it finds you.
It’s like me wanting to see better—I had to go to the doctor—and I had to trust the doctor to cut open my eye. In the same way, if I desire wisdom, I have to go on the search for wisdom. Then trust Mother Wisdom to cut open my soul and pour in her light so that I might see the way of wisdom much clear. Paradoxical truths can bring the greatest rewards—and simultaneously an equal amount of risk and pain. No wonder my blood pressure goes up every time I contemplate what is the wisest approach to the problem confronting me.