As we edge ever nearer for departure on our eternal journey, we Silver Tops begin to transition from the earthbound to the ethereal. On the last legs of our journey, we are often surprised to find ourselves living, for lack of a better description, a more righteous, even biblical life. It’s like we have joined some celestial rewards program and are accumulating points in the Angel Credit Club. However we may have behaved in our younger days, we are reborn in our autumnal years, and for many of us it’s nothing but tolerance and clean-living from here to Glory.
Of course, we may be ignoring the obvious. We may like to think that we have gained wisdom and evolved a more spiritual mindset, but in truth, opportunities for indiscriminate or indiscreet behavior just don’t present themselves as often. It is easier to believe that we are on the fast track to sainthood when we are no longer invited to chase the usual vices… sex, recreational inebrients, status, ego… and find ourselves pursuing a life of crafts, volunteerism and genteel interests instead.
It gets harder to misbehave as we silver. Drinking interferes with our medication. We don’t have the stamina to carouse past 8:00 and rather than pub crawling, we are more likely to crawl into our jammies with a good mystery novel. Biology has decreed that we don’t need a lusty libido anymore, so all the related social misdeeds that we may have committed in the past have died along with it. The Devil needs younger, more energetic victims…he can’t make much progress with potential recruits who fall asleep in the recliner before dark.
Thus, I have reached a place in life where I am very, very good. Exemplary, even. Just reviewing the list of the Ten Recommendations leaves me feeling pretty self-satisfied. I never have had much of an impulse to make graven images or covet my neighbor’s ass (though, to be fair, I have never had a neighbor who had an ass that I might covet). I don’t know if you get extra Angel Credits for not doing something you were never tempted or had the opportunity to do in the first place – i.e., never committed securities fraud or trafficked in stolen human organs – but I think my credit score leans toward “satisfactory” on balance. I hope that accidental virtue will help me get my residence visa for Paradise.
What I am saying is that most of us over 60 probably have decent Angel Credit, whether through conviction or just circumstances. I cannot verify this with TransUnion or Equifax, but without the insidious lure of temptation (and presuming that we aren’t just a-holes to begin with), our rewards points are racking up by default.
Still, I feel like I need to revisit my laisses faire approach to salvation, because I may not be holy enough to get into the exclusive AfterLife Lounge. You know… where you know someone and the velvet rope is lowered so that you can bump halos with a saint or even an archangel. Sure, I can get in the Afterlife Foyer – I go to church every Sunday and force the congregation to listen to me grind away on the organ, an instrument I started playing at five, and don’t play much better after sixty years. I do crosswords in the evening and watch a lot of wildlife programming (did you know that there are at least seven different kinds of chihuahuas?). But, I can’t help but think I should improve a teensy bit more if I am going to qualify for the ultra-exclusive Celestial Rewards Club. And this, according to the fine print on the membership application, requires…wait for it…forgiveness. All the world’s religions agree that if you want a ride on the best cloud and get the goldest harp, you need to forgive all who have done you wrong.
This may be a dealbreaker, since I find forgiveness a bit fuzzy as a concept. When hu-person-kind was scribbling down or chiseling the sacred texts, your average villager was being asked to give the local prostitute a break (but not the rebellious teenager – apparently stoning them onto death was a reasonable response). Maybe you got a little heated when your missing ass was found in your neighbor’s shed, but after a few flagons of shared wine, you probably let bygones be gone.
But in our current reality, I don’t see how we can be expected to extend forgiveness to rapists and pedophiles and human traffickers and killers. That’s Supreme Deity level forgiveness, and I am not equipped to see into the hearts of men and women.
Then, as I pondered this conundrum, I realized that as we silver, we begin to crave grace. And that is something I can offer to others unconditionally, as well as to myself. I am not wildly fond of everyone I have ever met, and maybe not everyone vibes with me either. I don’t know how or why people commit atrocities or why we let hatred control our lives, but fortunately, it’s not mine to sort out.
So, that’s my ticket to ride. While I am not able to forgive my second grade teacher, Miss Grappin, for falsely accusing me of stealing the classroom copy of Babar the Elephant and Queen Celeste, I am prepared to grant her grace. And from that small beginning, I offer grace to all and the hope that someday, we can all follow the Light home.
Ingrid arrived from Texas 20 years ago with her 6-year-old daughter. In addition to writing, she has many non-marketable skills and degrees. She was also voted "Most Likely to Choose a Book Everyone Else Hates" by her book club. Ingrid's tramp stamp tattoo is a quote from Jimmy Buffet: If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane.
Ingrid can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright Ingrid R. Gabriel – September 2023