Sometimes a compliment can carry us for days or even weeks. There are those that are nice or flattering while others touch us more profoundly. I received one of the latter variety tonight from Michael Clark, a photographer whom I had met only hours before.
At dinner with him, Mike, Tony, and Michael’s friend, he asked me how old I was. After hearing my reply, he said, “You seem very wise.” For me, this was about the most touching thing anyone could say.
Compliments on hair, clothing, physique, and merchandise are nice, but fade away. My appearance will go in and out of style, I may be thin or fat, and money will come and go. But hopefully, wisdom grows and matures and serves me the rest of my life. Wisdom will be the lighthouse guiding me through the storms of life, keeping me from destroying myself, and leading to fulfillment beyond what I can imagine.
At a young age, wisdom is a treasure and something I feel I often lack. To hear a stranger label me as wise, after only knowing me a few hours and having only short bits of conversation, meant the world to me. It couldn’t have come at a better time than now when I am unsure of just about everything in my life.
The tricky thing about wisdom is that its results are slow in coming. A wise choice may produce results months or years down the road and only then will we know it was wise. Other times we may never see wisdom in action as life sails smoothly because we made a tough, wise choice on the front end, thus circumnavigating what may have been a disaster. In the meantime there are doubts, opportunities to turn back, and the choice to stick with what we know is correct.
So many my age are sucked in by instant gratification (as am I at times) and live in a cycle of ups and downs. Wisdom may not be sexy, but I can think of nothing more desirable or of greater value.