Aging with Focus

A Reflection by Sister M. Martha Pavelsky, MHSH

I’m folding laundry and I come across the heavy cotton canvas pastry cloth that was my mother’s. It’s mine now, and I use it three times a year at least: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, when I make a pecan pie from scratch (scratch and a lot of butter) for our Community dinners.

Pecan Pie 3pastry cloth, and learning to roll out dough on it, is one of my earliest memories. It was in good shape about 70 years ago, but it is definitely showing its age now!

Maybe we’re having our own little race to the finish line: Will it outlast me? Will I go first? Am I as beat up as it is?

Using that cloth, I kind of work around the holes, and we get along fine. It’s not a marriage that the cloth and I have, but it gives me an insight into the tolerance and forgiveness necessary for a marriage to last—or for a Community to hold together as it’s members age.

Focus on the holes and the fraying edges, the weak spots, the little stains—or get on with doing all that can still be done: a pie, an outreach to someone frazzled, a chuckle over some crazy caper of years ago.

We may just make that finish line together. Tuck the pastry cloth somewhere in my coffin. Just in case….

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