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Wonder and The Privilege of Aging



I wish someone had told me just how beautiful and wonderful aging would be!


As a youngster raised in a blue collar family of meager means, age and intermittent illness were always a threat to one's ability to generate income. So who wants to grow old, though as I recall, old folk did seem more loving and mellow?


Spiritually, I was always encouraged in our meager moments by such words as, "I've never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed out begging bread." Still engrained however, and perhaps moreso, words like, "if you dont work you don't eat"! One was for Sunday inspiration, the other the Monday -Friday mantra! Maybe it kept us balanced?


Now, with Dad approaching his 98th birthday December 20th, and myself well into my 76th year, I see the paradox of my upbringing, both philosophies did have value. However, beyond a respect for sweat equity and religion, my life has been blessed by a deep curiosity and with that an element of awe and wonder.


I must say that I am grateful for how God has honored my Dad for his labor and love, progressively adding to our family's generational well being.


Cole Arthur Riley and Rohr's quotes from,This Here Flesh in the link below were what set off these morning thoughts around wonder, awe and aging, moreso than my typical trek through scripture.


"For every second that our organs and bones sustain us is a miracle. When those bones heal, when our wounds scab over, this is our call to marvel at our bodies—their regeneration, their stability or frailty. This grows our sense of dignity. To be able to marvel at the face of our neighbor with the same awe we have for the mountaintop, the sunlight refracting—this manner of vision is what will keep us from destroying each other…."


The longer I live, the more awed I am by life. Christ, as manifest in Creation, the magnitude of this ever expanding universe, the joy of deep friendships, loving neighbors, changing seasons, on and on!


The older I get the more my mind expands, modeled perhaps by this universe, a message that seems so timely and necessary to share with younger folk. Religion seems to work hard at containing, boxing our beliefs and beliefs have value when they afford a progressive revelation, thus expanding our awe!


Don't get me wrong, my life has been blessed by folk perhaps more limited than most, dependent upon their faith for survival. Early pioneers of the Pentecostal movement, prayerful intercessors, perhaps harvesting the miraculous for a day when academicians would rise to leadership in this once awe driven, brush arbor birthed movement.


Now at 75, I get to see the benefit of living a life truly guided by the spirit moreso than intellect, especially among those more faithful than myself. Yet also, the limitations of dogma and tradition alone. What a balamced heritage.


Throw in a "fifth-grade equivalence" of an understanding of physics, chemistry and biology and the ready access by way of technology to AI, and you'll get how I think.


In closing, I'll again reference Riley's comments on wonder just in case you are too rushed to open the link below:


"Beholding the majestic—the snow-capped Himalayas, the sun setting on the sea—but also the perfectly mundane—that soap bubble reflecting your kitchen, the oxidized underbelly of that stainless steel pan."


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