“The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of the ages,
may be preserved by quotation.”
Isaac D’israeli, an Englishman who lived from 1766 to 1848, was a respected literary essayist. His belief, given above, has weathered well. In 2013 we turn to the online Proverbs of the World and read,
“These sagacious sayings are the distilled wisdom of the ages. Their lessons are as relevant today, as when first heard hundreds and sometimes thousands of years ago.”
We need help today. We struggle to accept, enjoy and handle our modern lives, sometimes against overwhelming odds. We could benefit from the mentoring of experienced guides. Are the problems we face now so different from those in the past? Is it possible to tap into ancient wisdom?
A gem appears, written, amazingly enough, about 2003 years ago by a Roman citizen. Surveying the world around him, and those who peopled it, he wrote,
“As I approve of the youth who has something of the old man in him, so am I no less pleased with an old man who has something of the youth. He who follows this rule may be old in body but can never be old in mind.”
– Cicero 106 BC to 43 BC –
We in the “aged” category can use more cheerleaders like that.
Our modern world has so many troubles; tragic events occur daily. Was it always like this? How do people deal with it? Centuries after Cicero, an American writer considered the realities of life in his time. Viewing the continual struggle between appreciating the good and avoiding the bad, he wrote,
“No longer forward or behind
I look in hope or fear,
But grateful, take the good I find
The best of now and here.”
– John Greenleaf Whittier 1807 to 1892 –
Over many decades I have collected these wonderful snippets, and barely scratched the surface of what is available. In these sayings the wisdom of common folk rings out for all to hear. By leaving the written record of their life decisions, they have posted signs giving directions for loving life, and living it fully.
For a gentle farewell I turn to a man full of fun and fantasy, childlike in his simplicity and old in the wisdom of the messages his writings carry. One can imagine Peter Pan saying,
“God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.”
– James M. Barrie 1860 to 1937 –
May dreams dance through your sleep, and hope live in your hearts.