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Youth live in the moment because there is not very much in life they have control over

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Holly McLaneThe community of Powell Butte recently lost a couple of souls that were from "the hero generation." Years ago, when I first met Bonnie Ward and Pat Evans, they were huddled over a table, assembling sack lunches for the homeless. I was struck by how small these older (and wiser) women looked to me. Mind you, they continued to grow smaller as the years passed, but only in stature, never in spirit. As a matter of fact, I witnessed first-hand how these two spiritual giants would wage (and win) prayer wars on behalf of anyone who called with a request for help in this topsy-turvy world. Bonnie and Pat were pillars among the women I know in Central Oregon and, both, will be dearly missed.

I'm often flummoxed at the contrast between my life, as a middle-aged woman, and that of my older friends and much younger children. One moment I'm observing how the kids enjoy the snot out of a snow-apocalypse that has settled into our desert region; their biggest concern of the hour being whether or not there will be enough milk for hot chocolate following their sledding expedition. And the next, I'm caring for an aging parent, who's steady has gone out of their stance.

I find myself floating somewhere in between these two worlds all too often these days; my fifty years, and overbooked schedule, don't qualify me to belong in either camp, but my heart yearns for both. Because there seems to be something beneficial about the perspective that comes with being small in size and humble in spirit. The youth have a corner on the market of living like the whole world is the Grand Canyon and they are but a tiny bird soaring over the precipices with no particular destination in mind. It's as if, by default, they've decided to be fully present in the moment because there's not much they can control anyhow. Likewise, the Church ladies shrink around their quilting table and are not preoccupied much with attitudes of self-importance. They help one another and gracefully receive help with a gratitude that seems genuine, lifting hands in praise for something as simple as a positive bone density test!

So, when did I grow too old to live this way … and how much longer until I can get there again?

This, I suppose, is everyone's journey toward finding a place where the oil jars of joy will never run dry. The youth possess the ability to experience deep contentment while throwing a ball or watching an anthill, and the grands are zeroing-in on the eternal prize when they exchange the cares of this world for an easy chair and an attitude of thanksgiving for each new day. Neither the very young nor the very old are striving to make headlines or leave a giant footprint.

Perhaps that's why the most valuable thing I learned from Bonnie and Pat is that the best vantage point from which to experience life is on bended knee.


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