'It is, I think, entirely possible for one to respond to things at their natural value while seeing clearly their value for eter-nity. "Wisdom"-knowing the causes and ends of things-clarifies, rather than blurs, one's perception of the purely natural. The little wisdom that comes to us merely through the accretion of age does not render us incapable of understanding the passions of the young. Such wisdom helps us to understand passion better, indeed, than those possessed by it. Nor does such wisdom inhibit our sympathy for the sufferer. It is the old who know best what the young feel and who offer them the sincerest compassion.' - Elias Schwartz : The Possibilities of Christian Tragedy
This is a beautiful idea to stumble over during essay research. The notion that the longer you live, or the more you face, the more you can grow in compassion. Not that the skin would be hardened by difficulties, nor the heart be deadened by cynicism, but rather that such experience allows you to love the young and inexperienced more.
I am only twenty, and thus cannot speak as a seventy year old. But for my little part, I'm thankful for the hardest times in my life so far that have placed me in a position to love people through theirs. I know that part of my life's calling is to mourn with those who mourn. Even if I'm still working out what that looks like.