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Fading glory! What happens after the boasting and praise?

Most of us have had our glory days. They are the best of times and we do not want them to end. They were the days we thought we owned the world.


The world owned us. Those days felt so good we didn’t mind being owned. We gladly allowed ourselves to be captured by our own glory.

Believe it or not, life is better after all the hoopla. A different kind of better, but better!

After feeling very important, one day I was taken up short, they didn’t need me any more. I realized my importance was built up in my own mind, apparently not in any one else’s. I wasn’t that important. I was shocked. I’d done so much for everyone and they didn’t realize how important I was.

A wise friend said to me, “You will find that being unimportant is freeing.” When she said it, I remember thinking she doesn’t understand, I love being important. It’s caring about what I do. People need me. But she understood more clearly than I did.

There is a freedom for those who do not have any reputation to defend, no image to hide behind and nothing to preserve about themselves. They can finally be themselves. They take off the mask. They become honest.

So what happens after the mask is removed? It’s not so easy. We have to change our mind as to how we see ourselves. Talk about an eye opener. It’s a self realization and it’s not comfortable, it’s not fun at all.

But in the process we become secure as to whom we really are, not what we did. We start liking ourselves, we become free to be ourselves; we do things we didn’t know we could do, we rest in grace. We let people into our lives but we have the confidence that not everyone belongs there. Not all are invited, unlike as before, when we opened ourselves to everyone. We were their answer to life, how pomp that is.

We watched the Golden Globe awards last month and I was amazed at a seemingly transformed James Cameron. During the Titanic success, Cameron tells Mr. Showbiz, “All the toil paid off — Titanic, he felt represented the high-water mark of his career. When he won the award for Titanic, he had no gratitude for anyone else. It was all about Him. He forgot about the people who stuck by him in his sinking ship, going down with him. He thought he was king and he owned the world.

This time when he won the award for Avatar, if you noticed, he gave credit to everyone else. What a difference in just 10 years. Maybe he experienced some fading glory, some hard knocks and became real. He might have even seen the importance of others.

You think of the young high school stars; they are important, every one depends on them to bring home the title. They walk down the school corridors; the younger ones clamber to carry their books and the girls turn to look and dreamingly wish for just a glance. Special attention is given to them and they have it made for the moment.

Those days are sweet and they wish they could live in them forever, but it is to make way for something better. What could be better? A possible injury or graduation and the real world happens. Then they become ordinary just like everyone else. Is that so bad? No, not at all!

People fight for that glory and importance, their identity is wrapped up in it. They have been trained for it and they have the skills and the gifts. They want to make a great impression, but to whose credit? They want the opportunity to show off their abilities. But those days are for training and learning to enter a bigger world.

So what is this life after this so called fading glory? Moses encountered it when he came down from the mountain top. The glory, the shine on his face, began to fade. It was a symbol of something better to come. His encounter with God brought the law, which was glorious but brought condemnation. A better glory was promised. Grace!

It sounds like the philosophy of a doting old person who has lived his life and is sitting in a rocking chair watching his life go by. Quite the opposite! He has just begun to live. He knows who he is and what he wants. He understands his limitations but also knows that He is still full of promise. Things he has learned are of great benefit to those who will come after him.

So if you have come down from the mountain of importance and the spotlight has turned to another, it’s OK. They might even be clambering for your place, where you made it look good and they now want it, pushing and shoving to be important. Let them. Be there when the glory fades from their faces, they too must come down from the mountain in their time.

If you have passed your glory days, you are a great candidate for becoming real. It’s freeing to be unimportant.

Final brushstroke: It’s a long way to the end of one’s self. But afterwards, life is sweet.

Reader’s comments

Please write your comments to

Dear Betty:

Tension Line: I’m thankful for the balance that the”tension line” has provided throughout my life. And, Betty, I really enjoy your articles. Thanks for sharing them!


Farmington, N.M.


BOIING!!!! This was a true picture of a tension line. I can feel the vibration every time it gets plucked. You two crack me up. So what do you get when you cross a rock and a artist? ME. I love your writings and I love your rock and I love me.


Pagosa Springs

Artist’s quote

“Most great people have achieved their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.” — Napoleon Hill, author.