Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Making Peace With Aging

It's not easy for any of us to accept the aging process. Aging gracefully is not easy. It is an art. It must be entered into with care and thought, prayer and readiness.

I'm a young guy, relatively speaking, but I can still see clear signs of aging in myself. Though I know the theological response to the body's aging, I still sometimes struggle to believe that aging is not a terrible ordeal. One can easily grow anguished at the sight of bodily change. Our hair thins, our skin crinkles, our eyes worsen. With these effects come sadness. It is right that it be so. We are literally observing the physical death of our bodies. This is not a pretty sight, and it is not always easy to cope with.

But we Christians are not those who age without hope. We know that our bodies will be made new. So we do not fear the effects of aging. We do not dwell on them. And, I would suggest, we should not devote much time or money to fighting what is irreversible. If significant changes can be made--such as improved eyesight--that's a good thing. But a few wrinkles here, a bald spot there isn't sufficient to draw much attention from us. We should of course fight to keep our bodies fit and healthy. That is a stewardship issue. But wrinkles aren't. Gray hair is not. Ladies, don't worry about going gray. Don't fight it. And don't spend hundreds of dollars on "skin care." Some products may help, and that's fine, but you and I know things are way overblown on that issue. Far better to age gracefully, to make peace with aging, than to spin oneself into desperation over it and to lose much time and money. God does not judge us as society does. He loves us whether we wrinkle or not, whether we are bald or not. So too do our spouses and our families. Make a statement to society, then, as a Christian. Teach them that the aging process is not a horrible thing, that society is horribly appearance conscious, and that God gives years as a gift. Show them these lessons with dignity, and you will have won a precious victory over the tyranny of appearance-consciousness and narcissism.

Remember, aging is not a curse. It is a gift.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agreement in full,
madre with the silver white hair

11:04 AM  
Blogger Dad said...

Basically, in agreement, and I'm in the same boat as that Madre with the silver white hair lady. However, I believe death, the act and condition of dieing is indeed part of the curse.

Attended a course today on Alzheimer's as my mother-in-law has some form of forgetfulness, at least. A couple of ladies were in attendence from one of the native American tribes (locally). Their culture knows little of nursing homes, even today. The sick and elderly try to die at home, and are cared for as much as possible by the family. Actually somewhat refreshing to hear about. Are not we too busy to care for our aging family members? And sometimes aren't our aging brothers and sisters to full of something?? that prevents them from rejoying in an opportunity for the children to act as their care giver, in honoring their parents and our God? I think something is often wrong on both ends.

Enjoying this series.

Al (Not Owen's dad, not the other "Al".)

6:37 PM  

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