So, while I’m not yet an elder, I’m old enough to start thinking about the kind of elder I want to be, and about what it means to hold space as an elder. It means to hold memory, to preserve traditions, to remind us of those who came before, and to foster the continuation of the parts of our communities that are nourishing and good. But if that’s all we do, we run the risk of becoming relics, static holograms rather than dynamic elders within living traditions – whether we’re speaking of our religious traditions or our feminist movements. When we hole up in our elder identities and archival knowledge, overconfident in our ability to know the world through our historical lenses, we miss out on the opportunities that mutual engagement with younger generations and their evolving lenses could provide. Elder isn’t just a title, it’s a role within a community, and to play that role we need to engage with the broad spectrum of wisdom and knowledge our communities have to offer. None of our traditions or disciplines are static. Wisdom is both truth and process.
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