Posted by: Jivani Lisa | September 20, 2022

Aging Well

Franciscan priest, Richard Rohr, offers daily meditations via email. I’ve been receiving and reading them every day for something like twelve years. I used to always forward them to John, too – and he always enjoyed them. This week, the theme is “Ripening” as a metaphor for what’s supposed to happen to us as we age. I couldn’t help thinking of John as I read yesterday’s meditation. I witnessed him “ripening” and aging well during the years I knew him – beginning in 2009 – including the last two years when he needed 24-hour nursing care. I’m posting yesterday’s meditation here. You can access and subscribe to the Daily Meditations HERE.

Most of us tend to think of the second half of life as largely about getting old, dealing with health issues, and letting go of our physical life, but I simply don’t believe that’s all there is to it. What looks like falling can largely be experienced as falling upward and onward, into a broader and deeper world, where the soul finds its fullness, is finally connected to the whole, and lives inside the Big Picture.

It is not a loss but somehow a gain, not losing but actually winning. We probably have to have met at least one true elder to imagine this could be true. I’ve met enough radiant people to know that it is possible. They have come to their human fullness, often against all odds, usually by suffering personally or vicariously and empathetically. As Jesus describes such a person, “from their breasts flow fountains of living water” (John 7:38). They are models and goals for our humanity, much more than the celebrities and politicians whose actions we seem to care so much about today.

Remember, no one can keep us from the second half of our own lives except ourselves. Nothing can inhibit our second journey except our own lack of courage, patience, and imagination. Our second journey is all ours to walk or to avoid. My conviction is that some falling apart of the first journey is necessary for this to happen, so don’t waste too many moments lamenting poor parenting, lost jobs, failed relationships, physical challenges, economic poverty, or other tragedies. Pain is part of the deal. If we don’t walk into the second half of our own life, it is surely because we do not want it. Let’s desire, desire deeply, desire ourselves, desire God, desire everything good, true, and beautiful. All of the emptying out is for the sake of a Great Outpouring.


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