Aging Gracefully

Three weeks ago, my Tom’s beloved mother, Rita, died. Rita was ninety-six, a good age. She’d lived long and well. Over the last ten years, the time that I have known her, she moved from a senior’s residence to a full care nursing home. Although she was ready for this next life with God, we will miss her.

One of the blessings she leaves with me is the inner joy that she carried right to the end. Every time we visited her, she greeted us with a smile that would light up the room. That smile drew us back to her over and over again. Even when her hearing had all but disappeared and conversation had become difficult, her joyous greeting wrapped us in love.

Growing old requires tremendous courage. It becomes a process of letting go. Eyesight and hearing become dim and walking becomes difficult. Maintaining our joy in life requires determination. I’ve no scientific proof, but my experience with the elderly tells me that as we age, our personalities intensify. A number of years ago, I decided that it’s valuable to live a life of gratitude. Already, I’m finding it easier and easier to be thankful. I’m grateful that my knees still work well enough to dance. I’m grateful that my hearing aids have restored my hearing. I’m grateful that we have grandchildren growing up and stepping out into the world. I’m grateful for family and friends. I’m grateful for my church family and the list goes on. If I live to be ninety-six like Rita, and a smile is all I have left to give, I’ll be grateful for that smile.

I suggest that you take a look at your life. What is the main focus of your personality? Do you want it to intensify as you age? If not, I suggest you seek out a new focus that will stand the test of time.

“Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” (John 21:18)


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