A spirited celebration of my step-father's 80th birthday was the purpose of a weekend sojourn to New Jersey. Living with and fighting against pancreatic cancer, he has had quite the year, as have we all by extension. Life-threatening illness often has a way of underscoring the importance of family, and we are no exception in this regard.
In just over a month, my father will mark his 77th birthday, and that occasion will again facilitate a gathering, a celebration, a day to acknowledge the passing of time and the ageing of our beloved elders.
There are so many elders in our society who are overlooked and forgotten. The next time you pass an older woman or man on the sidewalk, consider for a moment their plight. Are they alone? Are they loved? Are they warm? Are they fed? Are they blessed with the closeness of family, the warmth of younger generations venerating their wisdom and age and perseverance? You don't have to talk to that person if you don't want to. You don't even have to catch their eye. But really look, really see, and take into your heart that person's long road of survival until this very day when you behold them. And then remember this with the utmost certainty---you will some day walk in those shoes.