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If you are of a certain age

LePagesGluephotocredblackSubject line of a recent email I received: “Those Under 55 Simply Won’t Understand.”

Being a good deal over 55, I confidently opened the email to see photos of a Toni Perm kit; a ball and jacks; one of those party favors that popped open and spilled confetti all over the place; a bottle of LePage’s glue. Yep – I could identify and remember each one.

And you are wondering “so what?” Well, here’s what. Those under 55 will probably not find this a compelling blog post; yet I am compelled to write it because of two recent experiences that our SP Spirituality of Aging Committee had provided. In short, the silly email put me in touch with the good feelings and thoughts of those two times.

The first activity couldn’t have been simpler to organize nor more satisfying to engage. We gathered in small groups and shared around the questions given to us by the committee. You may — if you’re of a certain age — want to gather a group of friends and share your ideas and feelings generated by these seemingly simple questions:

• When did you first realize you were aging?
• What difficulties or challenges are you experiencing as you age? What do you fear?
• What does aging well look like/feel like to you?
• What is life-giving for you?
• What would enrich your life further?

I think you will be surprised — as were we — at the depth and humor and tenderness of sharing that these simple questions evoke among you and your friends.

Then, on this past July 7, many of us SPs and some Providence Associates attended a workshop titled “God’s Overflowing Goodness: Embracing Our Gift of Years.” Presented by Brother Ray Mattes, IHM, it was a lovely day of listening, of pondering, of considering in a prayerful and deliberate way “the gift of years.”

Brother Ray posed these questions for our consideration. Perhaps they are of interest to you.

Are you…
• Still growing and learning?
• Maintaining the potential for promise and connection to the future in your life?
• In pursuit of happiness, joy and pleasure?
• One who works to synthesize wisdom from your long life experience?
• One who formulates the wisdom of your life story into a legacy for the church, society and future generations?
• One who, like Simeon and Anna, embrace the vocation of later life?

I hope you enjoy the questions; I hope you find delight in sharing the feelings and thoughts they evoke in you; I hope you — and I — will embrace with enthusiasm the “gift of years.”

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Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise Wilkinson

Sister Denise was the general superior of the Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods from 2006-2016. She previously served as a high school teacher, college administrator, postulant/novice director and director of advancement and communications for the Congregation. Currently, Sister Denise serves the Congregation in various volunteer positions.

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  1. Avatar Lorraine Kirker PA on July 19, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    I laughed when I saw the bottle and immediately knew it was mucilage without looking at the bottom of the label. The things that are buried in our minds! But, seriously, the questions Brother Ray posed reminded me of a New Year’s Day homily I heard many years ago and will always remember. The priest asked if we had grown and changed during the past year. If we had learned or tried anything new. With assurance I was able to answer in the affirmative and have continued to live that way. Even with it’s stumbling blocks, life is a glorious gift from God to be embraced and relished every day. I hope we both have many more years to do so.

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