Letting the flow of the waters of the White River take me downstream is far different than the feeling of workdays as a lawyer. I float along in the peace. I move past the natural beauty of a great blue heron perched on a boulder standing tall above the rock lined riverbed. A Bald Eagle circles overhead rising with the wind beneath its wings. The calm surface of the water next to the shore is pierced by a Rainbow trout jumping skyward. The trout needs to express the unbridled joy of being alive in this fish-heaven on Earth. Legendary Fishing Guide Ralph Chatelain is at the helm of my boat. But God is the One who oversees this experience.
The many large Sycamore trees stand tall. They lean over the river’s edge. They watch over me. They see what I see. In hundreds of years, the groves of Sycamore trees have seen more than I ever will. They are like elders in this sacred place.
A place where time passes slowly. Where the beauty of nature is nurtured. Where being old is equated with wisdom. Here all of God’s creatures and living things like the Elder Sycamores have a special place. A place of enduring value and respect.
In my calling as a collaborative divorce attorney and peacemaker in resolving legal disputes, I do not know if I could ever be as wise as the Elder Sycamores or as valued as the beauty which flows from this place. Yet, I do know that I am the best me I have ever been. I am blessed by the poor, the mainstream, and the wealthy people who hire me. Who respect me. Who value me because of my experience and wisdom. Who hire me not for my age. But for my heart. My compassion. My commitment to make a difference in an all too often indifferent world.
As I prepare to depart the White River and return home, I will not leave behind my experiences for the last ten days. I will arrive at my office and bring with me more memories. Items to add to the existing memorabilia of photographs, art, and two brown trout I caught here. Trout on my wall which are mounted on driftwood from the White River.
With Dorothy and other dear family members near me, I pray. I pray to God in thanksgiving that I am a respected and loved elder AARP card carrying member. I know that far too many people over fifty-five are not valued, respected, and trusted for their wisdom. Social media, plastic surgery, hormonal therapy, and science are focused on preserving youth. Going to Google is the first resort to find the best answer to a question. But how does one learn the best way to live? To love? To uncouple in a broken marriage? To die? To forgive? To be healed? To be the best child of God?
We should look to the Sycamores in our lives. The elders in our families. In our communities. In our churches. Let us not leave the thought of the Elder Sycamores behind on the White River or in the places far away from our hearts. The wise Elders are present for you and me if respected and valued. Like angels, God has placed them in our midst. They just need to be asked for advice. Like God, they will provide the answers our hearts need to hear.
God has spoken in Scripture as to wise elders.
Wisdom is with the aged and understanding in length of days.
Let us pray.
Dear God, in prayer may I find the elders in my life in whom I can trust to gain wisdom.
God, please help me give greater respect and value to those older than me.
God, I thank You for the elder and wise ones. In Your time both the young and the old are all Your children. To You we are all the same. Through the elders in my life and in my church may I know You better. May I gain greater wisdom. In that way may I be the best I can be for You. Amen
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Ann Boland, Jack’s Publicist