Aging With Grace

The conference I recently attended on “Aging; the Last Frontier,” gave some wise advice around retirement and aging. Instead of viewing retirement as completing one’s work and vocation and then entering full-time leisure and play, there is a need to reframe retirement as a new calling. Here is an opportunity to explore fresh opportunities for kingdom service. Some have found meaningful volunteer opportunities. Others have cultivated new discipling relationships, and some have even embarked on new careers. Retirement can bring a shift from being needed to feeling unneeded, which could easily drift into discouragement, depression and anger. Here’s where we would do well to discover wise ways to incorporate faith journeys and story telling within worship and other activities. We live in a culture that speaks of racism and sexism, but ignores the plight of ageism, as it tends to worship “youth.” We need to find wise ways to incorporate faith storying telling in worship and other activities, where inter-generational worship is practised and all generations are valued equally. The realities of dying and death become more prominent the older we get. Aging usually includes diminished eyesight, loss of hearing, impaired mobility and becoming more vulnerable, and frail. Instead of downplaying these realities and ignoring them, why don’t we build a platform for difficult but necessary conversations and not be afraid to lament as well. Of all people, Christians are most able to host sturdy conversations around death and dying. There were a couple of “one liners” at the conference that caught my attention: “Aging is saging,” and “As long as I have a pulse, I have a purpose.” The truth of the matter is that we are all aging, whether, we are turning 16 or 60, or 86, we are all on a journey, being called closer to our Lord. The challenge we are given is to walk together intergenerationally, contrary to our culture, where each person is seen and loved as an image bearer of our living God. May we be able to see God’s face throughout the ages in each other, with grace, mercy and peace.                                        Pastor Sid

Karin Terpstra