“Experiencing God’s presence on the journey of life”–to my ears, that’s a much more attractive title for a seminar than “Spirituality and Aging.”
After all, aging is not exactly a positive word. The other day, someone referred to an older relative he hadn’t seen for sometime, and said “He’s really aged.” It didn’t sound like a compliment.
For Adults Only?
And yet, aging is not only for older adults. From birth into childhood and beyond, we are all aging–it’s part of the journey of life, and each stage has its unique tasks and challenges. According to Erik Erikson’s Developmental Theory, infancy is a primary time to develop trust vs. mistrust, and as we grow and change we encounter new challenges.
As part of our seniors ministry, this last weekend my congregation invited spiritual director and teacher Marcus Smucker to help us reflect on the unique tasks of the later years. Yet as he spoke, I couldn’t help but think how people of different ages have much more in common than we are different. So instead of focusing only on those in their later years, I found myself writing down choice quotes that apply to spirituality for adults at any age.
Spirituality At Any Age
“Even when we don’t think about it, God is in all our experiences.”
“Spirituality is about openness to God, and how we dedicate ourselves to God’s interest in the world.”
Reading Scripture prayerfully: “Not reading for information, but in a meditative way . . . it’s not about mastery but about receptivity.”
“God is more passionate about you than you can imagine.”
“Honest communication with God is deeply significant in prayer.”
“It is important to experience the undergirding of God and being resourced by the Spirit.”
Quoting Carl Jung: “Busyness is not just from the devil. It is the devil.”
Quoting Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
See what I mean? With all due respect to the unique challenges that come with different ages and stages of life, these things seem to speak to the heart whether you’re 18, 28, or 80 or more.
Thank you, Marcus, for sharing your wisdom and experience with us.