We Can Grow Old Gracefully in Christ

Time fascinates me. It always has. Do you ever feel like time is simply flying by? So now it’s autumn and before you know it, it will be spring, and you think to yourself, “Where has the time gone?”

I am often hit by just how fast time goes, and the realization of just how quickly our precious lives fly by.

Talk about perspective.

For me personally, this fascination with time has progressed and been molded into different thoughts, realizations and fears as I have gotten older.

 

Let’s face it, who wants to be old? I know, I know, I’ve heard the arguments for age progression. Statements like, “I have earned every wrinkle on my face,” or, “the pains in my body are my battle scars,” or better yet, “I’m so much wiser now than when I was in my 20s.” And you know what? As true as those statements may be, at the end of the day, getting older is sometimes hard.

Well, at least it’s hard when looking at it from a superficial and worldly viewpoint.

In my late 30s I grew my hair out quite long. I thought I was so cool and hip. And I wanted to look much younger than my age.

I looked ridiculous.

But at the time it was my way of not accepting (and rebelling against) the fact that I was closing in on 40. I wanted to hold on to my youth.

Now having reached my late 40s, I have slowly discovered that the only way to age and to truly be OK with age is to simply accept it and not try to fight it. Wanting to be young forever, quite simply, is a very dangerous game to play — and it’s also unnatural. Perceptions and priorities begin to grow out of alignment. People become trapped in and long for their past.

So, I won’t be growing my hair long again. (Picture everyone I know clapping and cheering here)

And you know, beyond the vanity of one’s appearance, and the pains and perceptions of age, there is something much deeper to consider — a fact that when you think about it, is equally jarring and amazing.

We have absolutely no control over how or when our life will end. But with certainty, whether we consciously accept it or not, we all know that one day we will die.

Think about it, growing up did anyone ever ask you, “How do you feel about death? What do you think the purpose of life is? How do you want to live your life?” The subject of life is rarely, if ever, discussed – not by our parents, our peers, or even in academics.

But perhaps it should be.

We all tend to live our lives as though we are immortal. And when a friend or family member dies suddenly, we react with shock, because we are not educated about the topic of death.

Instead we avoid it, we hide from it … we ignore it.

Imagine the profound effect it would have on our daily choices and decisions, as well as our values, and even our relationship with our Creator, if we lived with this awareness every day.

As my clock ticks on, I have begun to consider death. Not obsessively, but I do consider it often. And, through this consideration, my thoughts have turned towards my faith and God and not about bucket lists, job titles or other superficial things I think I need to do or obtain before I die. Sure, enjoyable things are great to do, and sometimes necessary to navigate the stresses of life … but these things should never be our goal.

Part of getting older is the realization that life is incredibly short and that God asks certain things of us. Things like attempting to be more humble and charitable.  Or removing vain and needless distractions so we can focus on a closer relationship with Him. And a constant attempt (and often a struggle) to become less of a worldly person and more of a spiritual and Godly person.

And instead of despairing about growing old and our impending death, we have the opportunity to reach out to God to provide us with His inner light to enter into our souls. To slowly fill us with warmth, comfort, love and connection.  To provide us with the ultimate truths.

If we live our lives with His plan and purpose for us, we really can live forever — with Him.

And that age is simply a means to that end — but never an end in itself.

So, whether you’re 20, 40, 60 or 80, it’s never too late to think and pray about what is truly important and to consider age and death in a totally different way.

Avoid growing older with fear and anxiety.

Instead learn to grow older with trust; learn to grow older with Christ. 

Alan Scott

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Alan Scott is a writer and graphic designer residing in Virginia. A former Agnostic, he converted to the Catholic faith in 2004. In 2014 he started his blog GrowInVirtue.com, and is the author of The Quest for Virtue, both which focus on growing in holiness, by attempting to live a life more simple and virtuous, a life that is lived for God. When he’s not writing or designing, you’ll find him, hands dirty, in his garden. You can find him on Facebook, too.

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