It is easy to forget that life is an actual journey. We are moving forward, the vehicle that moves us is called time, and we really do not have an abundance of it. I do not think that is a favorite point for people in general to ponder, which is no wonder, is it?
Or it could be said that life is a pilgrimage. This actually means that as long as we are on the road, we will seldom find a place that we can actually rest. We have to ‘deal’ with ‘stuff’. Some of what we deal with are very painful and can last for a lifetime. Emotional pain perhaps being the worst for most people.
How we deal with our journey, or how we live out the concept of being pilgrims, is very important. Yet many people seem to spend an awful lot of time, effort, and yes money, trying not to think about it.
We are not a long-lived species, and to tell you the truth, as much as we fear death, I have not met too many people who would want to live in this world, as beautiful, and wondrous, as it is, for let’s say, hundreds of years. There is a sort of suffering that comes from simply ‘standing out’, being ‘other’, along with, what I believe, is the delusion of being separate, isolated, alone.
Aging has a way of stripping us of many illusions. One of them is that of control. We get older, and getting sick, is as easy as falling off a log. Even with the best of regimes that deal with food, exercise, the other shoe will drop and be unexpected. It is like falling off a log. So when we age, there is a lot we have to deal with in our inner lives, often leading many to think of deeper issues.
Having a deep, thought-out faith I believe is very important in helping people deal with the aging process and moving towards death. It allows us to face life with courage, and to find ways to deal with our suffering that is life-affirming.
There are many ‘bumps’ in the road that come with being a ‘senior citizen.’ We need to develop patience, a sense of humor, and a willingness to allow life to pass us by. Our faith, if we truly unite ourselves, our sufferings, with those of Christ Jesus, we will often find a deep inner joy that is something that both gives hope, as well as a type of energy to deal with it.
Our hearts will either expand or shrink, as we age. Become bitter, or more open to what our short lives have to offer. Knowing that we can choose, allows us to let go of being victims, we let go of blame, and find ways to adapt that led us deeper into the mystery of our lives, as well as our relationship with God.
People spend a lot of time denying the fact that they are really into ‘old age.’ It is of course based on the fear of illness, but mainly, of death. However, the fact is that we ‘age,’ and I believe that should be embraced.
Our faith does not do away with the struggle of our moving towards diminishment and ‘death’, yet it can give meaning to what all of that entails.