During an especially busy time, I had a perspective adjustment that changed my outlook for the better.
I was involved in several major projects, had a huge amount of work to do, and was quite tired—almost exhausted.
Popular messages today teach us to live in the moment, to practice mindfulness, to take a deep breath… But sometimes our moments are more than moments—they stretch out into seasons. And that requires taking more than one breath. One of the wonderful things about getting older is that I have lived for many seasons, and so have many of my friends. These seasons have given us insights, and as we go about collecting experiences, they become like jewels to be treasured.
I’ve heard and read many encouraging stories about the positive aspects of people’s experiences embracing the changes that come with aging. Well, now it’s my turn! I’m discovering the benefits of embracing change in new ways.
I looked at the mirrored wall at the gym as I moved through the tai chi motions and had the most surprising thought. I never knew I was so beautiful.
Let me explain.
“Can you teach English to my wife?” I heard a voice behind me say while I was picking out veggies at the open-air market in our neighborhood in Chile. I turned around to an enthusiastic stranger who said, “My wife needs to learn English, and I think you’re the one to teach her.” I was baffled and told him that I’m not an English teacher, but he didn’t relent, so I reluctantly scribbled my phone number on a scrap of paper and handed it to him.
My grandfather, whom I called “Opa,” and I were best buddies. He sharpened my instincts and shared his love for nature during our weekly hikes in the woods.
Each weekend, I eagerly awaited the moment when I was dropped off at Opa and Oma’s one-bedroom apartment in a small town at the heart of Germany’s industrial center.
Since turning 70, I’ve been thinking more about the benefits of aging. Even though many of us who are getting older have already felt some of the disadvantages or difficulties, there are also many good things to be found in this stage of our lives. I want to explore a few of these with you by sharing some of my own thoughts and experiences. Of course, you may not be at the stage in life where these things apply to you personally, but you may be interested for the sake of elderly family members or friends.
My husband and I recently found ourselves on our own again. After raising ten children over 40 years, I didn’t see this coming!
We’ve always been a close-knit family, but of course, as the children have grown up, one by one they’ve been moving on. I cried each time, as it felt like a piece of my heart was being torn away.
You wouldn’t think he was speaking to a gathering of elderly people, some in wheelchairs, some unable to talk, others afflicted by dementia or Alzheimer’s.
His hands gesticulating in the air, his voice passionately describing some deep concept, then the blackboard and the chalk: “Who can tell me what peace means? You, Alberto, yes, tell me and I’ll write it down. Wonderful! Come on, everyone, we’ll send this to the local newspaper!”
Jesus, You promised, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”1 Please help me to stay young in heart and spirit, even as I grow older in body.
Help me to remember to thank You for the times I’m in good health, and give me the grace to cheerfully accept the difficulties and disappointments that come with aging. Amen.