‘May seekers of truth give life to those who are satisfied that they have found it’, wrote the late Thérèse Vanier in a prayer composed in her old age.
Perhaps one of the dangers of advancing years is the conviction that we have found the truth. The hurts and losses of experience have made us cautious and self-protective and we are in danger of succumbing to the arrogance of ‘knowing’, of being convinced that we know and that no one else knows as we know.
We may seek to tidy, to see reason and explanation where there may not be any, and so to eliminate the element of mystery. Yet the acceptance of mystery, of the possibility that some actions, some apparent transgressions or inconsistencies transcend our limited reason, and the faith that somehow at some time the meaning of the mystery may be revealed, can be peace-giving.
In an age when disagreement can lead not to respectful acknowledgement of difference but to ‘cancellation’, the challenge is to view the world and others from that place of peace. We are called to see familiar landscapes afresh, with new eyes, to be humble and open, and to engage with others and ourselves with compassion.
When there is something within us that seeks still to connect, relate and understand, albeit with the awareness that some things surpass our understanding; when our best self seeks still to restore relationships and not to blame or punish, our growing is not yet over.