A very good friend, who is also a man filled with wisdom wrote a piece about retirement and how he was dealing with it. Some of it was coming from a place of struggle, but it ended up well. One statement jumped out at me and I responded to it. I would like to share it. It comes, of course, from a Christian point of view.
Interesting post. I do believe that as we age there are questions that we have to face, even if they can’t be answered to our liking. I will be 70 in December, a strange thought, but not an unhappy one……Even with the health problems, aches and pains, I still fell happy and wonder what the next decade will be like. I find myself feeling young inside, but on the outside, well, it is obvious that I am an older man. I often have to be reminded of it, mirrors are good for that.
I was taken by this statement:
(Quote): Easy answer. No doubt they were. But I suspect that having found little to nothing meaningful in their everyday life they placed themselves in an environment in which it was easy to displace to another cognitive state. It was easy to “get away from here” even if the destination was only imaginary. (Unquote):
Not sure what you mean by “imaginary”? If the older women are really devout and by that, I mean women, who live their faith, and are deeply rooted in their relationship with God, then old age is a call to deepen that relationship even more. As well as their connection with others. How do you know the modern perspective on religion and the faith that flows from it is right? Modern attitudes are often just accepted, yet a lot can be missed by that I believe.
One day, I was having an intense struggle with emptiness,, meaninglessness, feeling without value, or substance. Then I the thought came to me: “This moment will never be repeated, how will I respond, will I open my heart even now to this ‘nothingness’, or seek to escape it, which from experience is impossible. So I made, perhaps for the first time in my life, to understand the importance of each moment.
I do believe my dear friend, that we are here just to make these small choices, to embrace life, to understand how short it is, and how important our choices are for the formation of our soul. Such is the value of our lives. Of course, this is not a modern, secular, idea, but an old one rooted in not only the Christian tradition but in others as well.
The NDEs bring this out. In one life review, a man was astounded that most of the things he gave value too were overrated. Then he noticed that it is the ‘so-called’ little things, his choices to be kind, observant, and helpful, and forgiving, that shone out as something very important. A reversal of values I believe. Sort of like the Sermon on the Mount. Something easy to read, but to live out of that reality, takes time, effort and an openness to the Spirit of Grace.
I have found that each state of life is more important than the one before it and more demanding. I remember that when I was young (as I am sure you do as well) the old cliché, “don’t trust anyone over 30”. The message, life is over at 30. Who says? When we get older, we are ‘forced’ to let go of old ways of seeing ourselves, perhaps we are being ‘honed’, cut back, so something else can come forth. When we forget we are pilgrims, then we get into trouble. Aging, is important for us on the level of spiritual growth. It is hard, painful, and at times a lonely place to be…..yet if we don’t forget that we have an immortal soul, it can give some surcease to our suffering.
You are wise, you know already of what I speak. The last years are the most important because we let go of what our culture tells is important, but in reality, it is, but there is something more, there is always something more. -Br.MD