By Sarya Ingram
Definition of Elder:
- An older person.
- An older, influential member of a family, tribe, or community.
An Elder is someone who has given lots to the community, has paved the way and lots of times taken the crap for those who come after. An Elder opens heart and pocketbook, giving selflessly usually 24/7 to those who call upon him or her. An Elder bears the blame when the lesson goes unlearned and folks go unenriched. An Elder mediates situations with fairness and not for self gain.
True Eldership is not a title taken or given at random; it is earned through years of work and study and helping those in need. True Eldership seeks not any form of worship or ass-kissing, that is not what Eldership is. Eldership is service not gain. It is selfless not selfish. Elders give up private family time and often their own funds to promote and benefit the community. No Elder seeks anyone to treat them any better nor any worse.
My own Eldership came as a result of the death of my own elder (and my beloved Dad), a wonderful man. I certainly never sought it nor wished it but I have earned it. I was given the trust and confidence of those before me within the Order. Those that know me and my children know the cost of my Eldership on my time and my heart and my pocket book. I make no apologies for the title, for just as some call me Elder they also know they can call me friend just as well. The years and my experiences in life have taught me well and it’s my path in life whether in the vampyric community, or just helping those younger than me who need advice or guidance, and to do the very best I can. To teach what I know and admit when I don’t. Most Elders seek nothing at all in return for what they do.
That to me is what an Elder is.
I understand that some don’t care for the term or have had bad experiences with people using it. Yes, there are many calling themselves “Elders”, “Leaders”, etc. Some have earned it, and do so in good faith, but many have not. Some are high and mighty behind computer keyboards and go to their lives and forget their duties when the “off” button is pushed, but many work 24/7. There is no way to solve such but to take the time to speak with folks individually and make judgments based not on the opinions of others but your own. I am blessed with an understanding family; my children have always made room at our table and in our lives for those who come our way; they understand the times that I’m so very busy, as well.
I wrote a poem a couple years ago. In it, I thank those to whom I am an elder for the chance to know and help them as they also inspire me. It’s also for those folks I meet everyday that make it all worthwhile.
I am a childe of moonlight
Many years I have walked with starlight
Many things these eyes have seen
Plenty tears, but many more smiles
Take my hand and let’s walk awhile
I want you to know, that I truly do care
And if it weren’t for you,
I’d have no reason to even be there.
Tell me of yourself and I’ll tell you of me
For such a long time, I learned and watched
Life’s treasures and torments..
Seen souls corrupted and hearts set free
Helping those find themselves
Also helps me
I am not here to order, put down, nor judge
Just take my hand and talk to me
And together we’ll make it through the sludge
Of a world that sometimes, makes no sense
My love is a pure one, without pretense
I am asked, often at times
What keeps me going and how to find
The answers within me, this world with sadness, pain and crimes
All I know it’s a call that burns in my heart and mind
The torch passed to me and inside it burns
In you I see the tomorrows
And in myself from the past
I am teacher, friend and guide
And watching you all fills me with pride
An elder is nothing without those to love and help
Each of you has a special place within me
From you I learn too
Call my name in the darkness,
I wont be far away
This I promise, once you enter my heart
You have a place to stay
If you ever need me, I promise to be there
Always know that someone really cares
This elder thanks you
From the bottom of my heart
For the happiness pride and joy
You brought to my heart
For in you all I see,
All the beautiful things a soul should be