A Reflection by Sister M. Madeline Gallagher, MHSH
What is aging? The dictionary defines it as, “the length of time a person exists, or the late part of life.”
We really begin to age the moment we are born and the process continues all our lives. Most young people don’t think of their later years. It is usually when an older relative or friend begins to show signs of aging that people begin to think of their own lives. What feelings do you experience as you see and feel the many diminishing effects of aging? Fear, rejection, denial or acceptance?
How can we be at peace with the process of aging? I feel that aging is lifelong growth. As we mature we need to learn how to accept the many challenges of life. Those who face life with its hardships and joys learn the lessons of hard knocks, and they learn to accept the process of growing old.
A friend of mine, Rose, died recently at the age of 99. Her parents had died when she was a baby and she was raised by a series of different families. I met her when she was 80 years old. At that time she was very active and knew just what she wanted. She usually got it. Rose was full of life and helped others enjoy life. She was able to overcome her difficult childhood because of her strong faith. Her faith meant much to her throughout her life, and it deepened as she grew older. I took her Communion in her later years and she never failed to express her appreciation for my love and care.
We all age. The question is, “How will we age?” I believe that aging well takes reflection, thought, prayer and living each day with the Lord.
We are no different when we get older than we were when we were younger. We have the same personality, the same virtues and the same faults. It is how we manage to live out our gifts and reach out to others in love that will make all the differences in our later life.
Reflection: How can we grow from the examples set by the wonderful old people that we have known and loved?