Aging: Not a Thief in the Night
by Richard P. Johnson, Ph.D.
"Aging is the senseless slippage into nothingness." I was flabbergasted when I read this definition of aging in an old sociology textbook. What a stark view of aging, I thought; yet it gave me pause. When viewed through human eyes alone, aging does become little more than a succession of losses ending in nothingness.
As Christians we are called to view aging in new light. When we take the logs out of our own eyes, we can see that aging is one of the means that the Holy Spirit uses to teach us who we really are. Such a new vision transforms aging from a "senseless slippage" into the eternal living water of Christ. Water, that when we drink it fully, allows us a new transcendent vision of the purpose of life; we appreciate life with new definition, as Christ makes all things new.
Every year of our life, beyond about 25, the process of maturation (aging) takes away little pieces of our physical strength, stamina, and sensitivity. Is this a cruel punishment, or is it more a gradual reminder of what is truly real and changeless about us?
As the aging process slowly disintegrates our bodies, are we not being called to more fully spiritually integrate as a consequence? With each diminishment, with each loss, the Holy Spirit is knocking on the door of our hearts beckoning us to embrace God more completely; asking us to let go of the things of this world and enter into the abundant life of the Spirit.
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