This last post in my "Embrace" series for May is all about wisdom. When I ask my husband what the benefits of getting older are, the answer he always comes up with is "wisdom" because it ties in so closely with life experiences gained from living long and well. I see him as being a wise man so I'll have to take his word on this one and I also know there is a lot to be said for knowledge, but wisdom encompasses so much more.
Young people often see life much in more simple terms - either they like something or they don't, either they believe something or they don't, either someone is worthwhile or they're not, and the list goes on. With age and wisdom you learn that the edges aren't always so well defined. Things change, they morph and develop and how we think they should be is not always how they turn out.
I think wisdom teaches us to be kinder in our judgements of others, we learn that people can be going through experiences we aren't aware of and may be reacting in ways we don't expect. We learn to give them grace and acceptance rather than writing them off as too hard or too messy. A quote from Bob Goff sums this up well: "Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice". Wisdom tells us when to offer advice and when to keep quiet and offer a hug instead.
Wisdom is intertwined with grace and kindness, with thoughtfulness and reticence - we learn to be slower to pass judgement because we have often been in similar situations and know life's road can be windy and pot-holed at times. When we do open our mouths it should be to offer empathy and understanding rather than platitudes. Nobody likes a know-all who has all the answers but has never walked a mile in someone else's shoes.
I am hoping that I grow in wisdom as the years go by, that the tough times soften me rather than make me hard. I'd like to think I can offer a listening ear and a wise word or two where needed, and to know when to speak and when to be quiet. I'd like to think that my husband and children can rely on me to be patient and kind, and my friends can rely on me to have their best interests at heart. The idea of gaining wisdom with age makes getting older a lot easier to swallow!