As my life has progressed I have come to have a different perspective. There is less tolerance in general and a sense of impatience that although I always had, seems to have morphed. I seem to relate all too well to the quips from the cartoon character, Maxine.
I also find myself turning into my mother.
I am at the age my mother was as she battled the cancer that would eventually snuff out her life at 66. Once she was diagnosed with breast cancer and decided to do reconstruction, the surgeon told her to come back to him when she had quit smoking. That day she quit smoking. It was not easy for her nor anyone around her. On one occasion we were dining in a restaurant. In those days, you could smoke freely in any place of business. A man at a table near us was smoking. Suddenly my mother got up and walked over to the gentleman, pointed at him and said –
“I have cancer and your smoking is killing me!”
In that moment I didn’t know whether to crawl under the table or shield her from a possible shooting.
“Mom, you are going to get us killed”.
“I am at an age when I can say and do as I darn well please!” she would explain.
My mother had lost her filter.
All these years later, I too, find that my filter has slipped as well. I am not as outspoken as she was, not because I don’t want to but because we live in a different world and a shooting is quite possible and probable these days.
I have no shame when it comes to talking about my extensive medical history, sex, or my personal shortcomings. I have a few. Ok, maybe more than a few. My point is that there is almost nothing I won’t talk about. Where in my youth I was careful to speak for fear of what people might think of me, or that it would show my ignorance; today I have no problem telling people how I feel or even admitting my errors or my ignorance.
No, I have no shame.
And here is why. Because if speaking without a filter will help someone going through the same journeys that my life has taken, then it’s worth sharing. Life is short and there have been a few moments when God could have taken me out of the game of life. For whatever reason, He hasn’t yet. So I feel this need to impart what God is teaching me and I don’t have time for silliness. I also firmly believe that as Christians, we are called to share our knowledge and our growth with those around us. We are ministers in this life and are called by God to love, serve, share and care.
Erma Bombeck said it well. “When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left and I could say, “I used everything you gave me’”
I believe there is a reason that as we age our filter slips. It is our final legacy to those that will follow suit.
God bless my mother – and Maxine for showing me the way.