Sunday Post 29: The Loss of Innocence

I started a journal the week Lisa was diagnosed.  It will be a significant part of the book I’m slowly trying to piece together. 

I was reading through some of my entries recently and ran across this short paragraph dated 9/21/10:

It’s 11:36 pm – I was headed to the shower.  Got a glance of myself in the full length mirror.  Stopped.  Grabbed my journal.  Looking at myself, what do I see?  Who am I now?  Who am I becoming?  I see – greater strength than ever before, physically stronger – emotionally stronger; a man who looks every bit of his 45 years here on earth and that used to not be the case.  A man wearing an old pair of reading glasses found around the house – maybe my grandfather’s.  A hollowness deep in those big brown eyes; maturity and newfound wisdom; a lack of innocence; deeper creases surrounding the mouth.  Look deeper, deeper, what do you see?  Perhaps a stronger faith growing within.

The phrase that whacks me in the head as I look back on my writing is “a lack of innocence.”  Can a 40 plus year old man have an innocence about him?  I used to.

I was having a conversation with a friend this week and she said, “You lived a charmed life.”  She was right.  And I’d like that life back.

I had no idea how deeply someone could hurt.  I couldn’t comprehend loss or grief.  I didn’t know what it was like to truly be scared or anxious or to have a mind that raced so hard you could not stop it.

But accompanying this loss of innocence is a loss of judging others.  And perhaps it brings with it a deeper understanding and empathy for what people may be going through.

I didn’t mind being innocent.  It was kind of nice.  But maybe having to face the realization that life is tough has really made me a better person in some ways.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we could all gain that wisdom, that acceptance of others and desire to know what someone might be facing before making assumptions?  And wouldn’t it be nice to figure that out  without going through hell here on earth?

If I had it to do again, during my first forty years I think I’d try harder to love others for who they were and try more earnestly to understand them.  You never know the baggage people are carrying.  Circumstances can change folks; they certainly changed me.

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6 Comments

  1. Faye Humphrey

     /  August 7, 2011

    Bruce,

    Your wisdom exceeds mine and I am 72. I admire you so very much. God bless.

    Faye

    Reply
  2. Wayne

     /  August 7, 2011

    Life revolves around Significant Emotional Events: things that change our way of thinking about life such as fighting in a war, divorce, death of a loved one, diagnosis of a life changing illness, job loss, life with an addict. When each event comes it changes our way of thinking—maybe for the good, maybe for the worse. As a minister, I’ve seen churches go through SEE such as scandal, firing of minister,or severe tragedy that strikes a well known family in the congregation. It gives the church a new perspective on what it means to be God’s people. Nations and the world go through SEE as well and it changes our purpose and outlook: World War I and II, the Great Depression, Vietnam, Watergate, 911. SEE forces us to rethink what we held to be “our life” and determine how we can live it under the new circumstances. Your brother has had several SEE and learned to handle them well. You’re right in that you’ve been spared up until this time but I’m very proud of you for facing reality and using your SEE in positive ways rather than letting it destroy you. –Dad

    Reply
  3. Regarding the Significant Emotional Events mentioned: During school I knew a boy who was cocky and brash.
    About a year after graduation, I ran into him and he seemed utterly changed. He was extremely sensitive to others, and more soft spoken and withdrawn. I remember thinking that for him to have changed so much so quickly, he must have experienced something that really shook him up.
    It happens to all of us, sooner or later.

    Reply
  4. Dave K

     /  August 8, 2011

    I think that as I grow older, I am surer of some the principles I believe in, but at the same time, I am less willing to judge other people for violating those principles because the way I have become so sure of them is in breaking them myself. However, that doesn’t apply to television – I still yell at the crazy people on TV – you can only take this maturing/wisdom stuff so far.

    Reply
  5. Priscilla

     /  August 8, 2011

    DANNY,
    You just preached one of the best sermons I have ever heard. God bless you and thanks for being a blessing to others.
    Don

    Reply

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