Good Evening, God!
A great thing about having dear friends visit is the inspiration it provides to visit new places. When my college roommate Lani visited recently from Indiana, we went to Foster Gardens — a botanical park adjacent to Honolulu’s Chinatown. I spent most of my time looking UP at enormously tall trees and checking our map to see what they were.
It was stimulating –rediscovering Foster Gardens and building a new mental of what’s in there.
I was thinking about that today as I talked with Virginia, a dear friend for years. She was a key volunteer with the Arcadia Retirement Residence Library, for which I served as consultant starting with its 1997 renovation. Now Arcadia is renovating again. Understandably, Virginia is not eager to go through the many changes involved in another renovation.
As we talked I remembered the book Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales. In it I learned that young children often survive because they don’t have a “mental map” to fall off of. By seven years of age, most of us realize when we are lost and find it very stressful. I read the book 10 years ago when my mother was getting ready to move from her home of twenty years in Arizona into a retirement residence near us in Honolulu.
Talk about stressful! I thought about all the mental maps she would leave behind — and all the new mental maps she would have to build. So, I wrote my mom a story about it called Here Be Dragons, which started by noting that we all have mental maps. I ended by offering assurances that we can continue to build mental maps as we age — it just takes longer.
I find that a comforting thought, God. It’s important to give ourselves TIME to learn new things.