Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand
Who saith “A whole I planned,
Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!”
Growing old is not for the faint-hearted. I’ve had to wrestle with the problems which beset my aging mother: forgetfulness, impaired vision, hearing, mobility, and gradual decline. Oh, and stubbornness—did I mention stubbornness?
Already my knees creak and groan, and my husband’s golf game was interrupted this year by a bad back and frozen shoulder. I imagine it won’t be that long until some of those more serious problems befall the two of us. When that time arrives, I’m afraid that I’ll balk at the role of the patient—an eventuality which sets me on edge just thinking about it.
In Rich in Years: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Long Life, Johann Christoph Arnold offers advice for bravely encountering the challenges which threaten one’s peace in the autumn years: facing the changes which come as the years pass, living with dementia, accepting one’s diminished capacities as part of God’s will for your life, learning to forgive, and going on when the one you love the most has gone on before you.
Apart from the physical challenges which come with the passing of time, Arnold offers help for emotional trials like loneliness; holding onto one’s faith, even when disappointed by life; saying goodbye to a loved one who is dying. All of these issues and more are discussed candidly and with generosity.
A testament to the effectiveness of this little book: Arnold has amassed endorsements from notable people of faith, including Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Alice Von Hildebrand, and—who knew?—Pete Seeger. The foreword is penned by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, who calls it “a meditation on what Teilard de Chardin called ‘passive diminishment’—the human experience of aging and suffering.”
Rich in Years is soul food for the person who is entering the final phase of life, and for the person who loves her.
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This book is a selection of the Patheos Book Club. Click here to read an interview with the author, to read an except, to download a study guide, and to see what others have said.