I am aware that not all of us grow older gracefully, not even all of our grandparents and great-grandparents. We do not all become naturally mellow and light-hearted, forgiving and free. Perhaps this speaks of rigidity and strictness. Perhaps our years can tighten us up and choke our gratitude.
As a Catholic, I find a poison of paralysis and inflexibility within my bones. I claim to be inclusive, outward looking and non-judgemental. But are there not elements of protectiveness, fear and a little anger? Do I react to people who don’t give Christianity a second chance or even a second ear?
At the same time, there is hope in my breath. There is hope as I look at your face. There is hope in harnessing a mellow flame of love – a candle that burns throughout day and night, an internal glow of someone we admire, a sense of balance and harmony. A warm heart with a backbone of steel.
If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it is to embrace our families and our flaws in a compassionate way. Being strictly Catholic or strictly anything is not the answer. I hear children in my neighbourhood say, “Stay positive!”