So I was out with my nana today for some lunch and catch-up time before heading back to university. Throughout the day several events sparked a definite trend of thoughts in my head and I thought I would share them with you here.
While eating the best salmon sandwiches known to man (thank you very much Barton Grange) we were talking about my relatives. We were talking about how my Auntie worked in a hospital in Hong Kong while they were building the new airport, and how she used to work privately as a carer for a very rich family. In fact she used to get picked up by this family (in an expensive and different car each day) to have dinner at a large dinner table with just her and this couple! We were also chatting about how my uncle Paul is getting on in Hong Kong where he works as a builder. Apparently he signs ‘ACDC’ somewhere on every building project that he does because he has loved them ever since his youth (A proper die hard fan). He has even been known to rock up to projects with ACDC blaring out the van and have one customer comment “Now that’s a proper builder”. Ha!
On the way out of the cafe, my nana got chatting to a lovely woman with a trolley filled with a new saucepan and a large bunch of pink tulips. They were chatting about how builders and workmen had tried to knock this lady off with overpriced jobs etc. It turns out this chatty, enthusiastic lady was 90 years old! “I keep telling people because I can hardly believe it myself” she exclaimed in her charming (slightly German) accent. As she spoke my gaze focused upon the delicate slender shape of her face and the smooth line of her nose. She had beautiful icy blue eyes that lit up with emotion. “… and I’m still driving” she added. Dainty silver jewels sparkled in her ears, and a soft cream woolen hat was placed on her head so as to hide but a few wisps of wavy hair. I couldn’t help thinking how beautiful (or more beautiful I should say) she must have been in her youth.
After looking around the displays and all sorts of niceties, nana took us both to her house where granddad was waiting. My granddad is not too well. He has a progressive illness which means that very slowly, his body is deteriorating and will continue to do so. It’s hard to watch and at the moment he can’t walk and has to be hoisted by my nana from chair to chair to bed to bath etc. He has always been a busy man with many interests though, and it is encouraging to see that he is making the most of his time making art and enjoying his gadgets and technology. He asked me how college was going. “University,” I said, “yeah it’s going well, I’m really enjoying it, I love it” I said. He smiled. “Ah that’s good, yes you’ve got to enjoy these things, while you’re young… because one day, you’ll be like me, and you can’t then”.
All these things got me thinking… Firstly, finding out about my relatives past and what they get up to! Like writing ACDC into concrete slabs haha! It just made me really see them as more than just their age. It sparked something in me, it helped me to relate to them. Then meeting that wonderful gentle woman with the beautiful blue eyes, complaining about how builders had tried to rip her off because of her age… It made me really start to appreciate that yes, one day, that could be me. That really, youth, with a whole life ahead of you, is useless. Even this woman, who I can imagine as being such a stunning young woman, was now only left with a small echo of her former beauty. And then seeing my granddad, and hearing him say those words, “because one day, you’ll be like me, and you can’t then” really pulled at my heartstrings. It really started to bring things together and prompted me to think differently. To see people not just as they appear, but to contemplate each person’s inner beauty and unique qualities that pervade throughout one’s whole lifespan.
The reality is that as humans we all follow similar journeys through this life. We all grow, reach our prime, we decline… and in every stage, looking back, we would say that we are no less ourselves in either stage. The essence of who we are is continuous throughout our life. This got me thinking… how wonderful would it be if people around us started to see each other for the unique beauty, the God-given lasting qualities that make you “you” from childhood right through to adulthood. If we looked past the age barriers and saw that we really are all in this together… and that we really could learn a lot from each other too.