The miracle of self-revelation

By Penny Wallace | Dec 23, 2013

The life each of us has been given is a miracle, which by our patterns of birth, growth and living, may take decades for us to perceive.  My miracle has been an ongoing revelation. I’m 64, female, white, overweight and middle class.

Looking at me you’d assume that I’m a retired librarian whose life is centered on keeping things in order and that I’m a very serious person.  That’s partially true since I do like things to go smoothly and have good outcomes.  However, someone who knew me well once quipped, “Penny is the only person I’ve ever know who’s fully comfortable with ambiguity.”


Also true is that I don’t vote or act with my demographic, I have an active sense of humor and sense of purpose.  I’m a human, animal, plant and earth rights advocate.  I spend lots of time trying to find the truth on issues of concern to me and to listen to both sides of any issue I’m involved with, and I will speak up or stand up when it is important to do so.

I vowed years ago, when I made a poor choice by not looking into the facts and deciding because the choice made me feel good, to choose to learn before deciding.  That led me into another conundrum, not trusting my instincts, when others declared an opposing view to them and bowing to the influence of people I respected, also making poor decisions.

So I made another vow, to learn to trust my instincts and also check the facts including seeking the wisdom of others.  All this gathered wisdom has stood me in good stead, but it has not insulated me from making poor choices either.  This knowledge became a burden making me hesitate to make choices.


A short time ago I was thinking back and looking at the results of what I deemed my poor choices and the results that time has wrought.  I was amazed to discover that those choices had influenced my life for the better; leading me on paths that would have not appeared without the poor choice.  So, I have learned to accept that I’ve done my best to make the best choice under the current circumstances and that I’ll have to live with the results no matter how disappointing at the time.


Time to live and learn is the best blessing each has.  Forgiveness of self and others is the best blessing we can give each other.  The ability to love genuinely is the result.

Penny Wallace lives in Waynesville.

Comments (3)
Posted by: Linda Sexton | Dec 23, 2013 07:30

Thank you Penny for posting these thoughts.  I, too, am enjoying reflecting on choices I have made in my life.  Living into one's 60's is truly a gift and taking the time to think about our lives is important.  Should we be granted another 20 or 30 years, may we continue to blossom and use the wisdom we have gained to the betterment of our world.

Posted by: Scott Lilly | Dec 23, 2013 10:05

Ms. Wallace, with such careful self-reflection and wisdom (the kind that can only be attained from the experience of years on Earth), I would be interested to read how your faith has evolved in your life.  It's clear you have faith -- I'm just wondering if that is an increasing importance or diminishing importance as you have aged.  Can you still be strong in your faith if it requires you to believe one side of an issue?  When you encounter someone with little or no faith, how do you value "their side" of the issue?  When you're successfully empathetic so that you're "comfortable with ambiguity" on an issue, is it more difficult or less difficult as you get more senior to take that issue to the next level and form your opinion?


I'm a couple of decades behind you and it seems the more I study faith, the less comfortable with ambiguity I am.

Posted by: Penny R Wallace | Dec 23, 2013 18:23

Scott, I have been mulling your questions over. They deserve a thoughtful answer but I'm unwilling to open up a public discussion about this very personal issue. If you are willing to have the mountaineer provide me with your email address I'll be glad to try to let you in on what I know. Merry Christmas.

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