Thursday, January 7, 2010

A Second Childhood?

A picture of my grandmother with her great-granddaughter got me thinking. What you see is a little girl sitting in an old lady's lap. She has her new tiny young fingers on my grandmother's aged ripe ones. Her limbs and body parts are waiting to be completed, my grandmother's are completed beyond saturation. She looks around curiously, taking in every minute detail, trying to absorb and digest all the new, unfamiliar elements of the world around her- the different voices people use with her, the different expressions and faces she sees, the different material she's touched, the people, sky, trees, animals, all foreign to her. My grandmother doesn't want to bother with grasping everything now: she's seen it all. She is so acquainted and familiar with this monotonous world that it's not foreign anymore and nothing can succeed in surprising her.

The little girl of six months peers curiously at her great grandmother. Her great grandmother gazes at her with nostalgia. So many thoughts and feelings well up- she wants this little bundle of innocence to grow up happy. She wants to be there when it happens, give her all the wisdom and strength she needs in life.

You are not that different from me. I have been through all my stages in life, I have more experience, there is so much more you need to learn. But one day, you will be just like me- you will again need to depend on others to walk, to eat, to wash, to dress, to remember. It won't be as easy because you'd have tasted total dependence and freedom. But for now, live and experience each of your life stages. You have a long eventful life to lead before reaching your second childhood.

The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything

From William Shakespeare's "As You Like It"

Qur'an 36:68 If We grant long life to any, We cause him to be reversed in nature: Will they not then understand?

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