aging gracefully

i like getting older. i look forward to being 60, 70, 80, God willing. i wonder what i will be doing at those ages– where i will be living, how much energy i have for ministry, who else will still be alive. it still surprises me to hear about a classmate who is retiring. as a claretian priest, we continue to work– according to our constrained abilities so i hope to be in ministry until the day i die.

as a believer in the spirituality of stewardship, God has only given us one body– so we must care for it as best we can.

i recently read a thought provoking article on aging joyfully. here it is:

from this article, i like this summary quote, “As we age, we have a choice: We can either cling to the world as we shaped it and refuse to engage in the new world that kids are creating, or we can adapt to their world and remain curious, active participants.” being paralyzed with fear or being open to newness of life are the choices while we age.

so i thought about how i would like to cultivate some of these ideas in my own way of living. here are my scattered thoughts

i hope that i can be open to wonder and awe in all its forms. wonder and awe is a gift of the Holy Spirit. i like to think that the Spirit surprises us with people, events, experiences that enter into our lives. we then step back and just exclaim, “WOW!” how many times have i seen a slam dunk in a hoops game? literally thousands. and i can still be mesmerized by the combination of athleticism and power– and i will still rewind the video to see it again. or the timely phone call or text. or the providential passage in the book that i am reading.

connected to wonder and awe is beauty. we can choose to seek out beauty. these past months i have been hiking. to see the forest with an eye toward the beautiful is something i hope to continue. how many national parks can i see in these years to come? the thought excites me. i want to experience all that great tree energy in those parks!

hopefully, i can continue to play my guitar and percussion instruments– and get better at the keyboard! music brings me joy. hopefully, i can always listen and dance to earth wind and fire, the isley brothers and brothers johnson.

movement is a source of joy too. newton was wise: “that an object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted on by a net external force.” so, too our bodies in motion stay in motion. just keep moving! one of my heroes is jack lalanne. i hope i can do my pushups and pull ups when i get 96 years of age! i also, must be smart about those “net external forces” that impinge on my motion/exercise. physical energy brings joy into my life and i want to stay in motion.

i started this blog as a an alternative to facebook. it gives me a chance to write/clarify my scattered thoughts. also, it is my way to stay up on technology. computers and phones have come a long way since i studied “basic” on the ibms at western washington university back in 1983! i am interested in seeing how technology will continue to develop. will it humanize us and makes us better people? or will it dehumanize us and be a tool for new ways to exploit people? artificial intelligence will a fascinating area to watch.

i hope that i can be active in a parish community until i become ineffective or burdensome. there are always surprises through the sacraments; people in parishes bring all sorts of surprises and grow. youth and young adults in particular always have great energy that is contagious. maybe i can help schools or community centers with their chess clubs. i hope that i can facilitate peace circles and join the music ministry. maybe facilitate a tai chi or moving prayer group.

maybe at claretian gatherings, i will be a quasi-curmudgeon throwing out smart-ass comments that unveil a bit of truth that both entertains and provokes thought in my brothers. or better– maybe a will have developed a prudent wisdom in my words and silence.

hopefully, i can still ride my bike and skateboard along the venice boardwalk and join in the drum circle there!

and a beer after a good workout or walk/hike with friends. wonderful!

and whatever crosses and difficulties in store for me, i hope that i can respond well. suffering is a teacher of wisdom too albeit one that no one really wants.

i pray that i will enjoy prayer in silence and in solitude more and more with the years to come.

there is so much living to do. God willing, we can age gracefully together.

“As Our Souls Move”: a Prayer on Aging by Samuel N. Slie

“Most loving and perpetually understanding and forgiving God, we lift our prayers of thanksgiving to you for renewal and sustenance in our aging. Bless us to receive and grow in self-respecting modesty, tough forgiving love, generosity, and without assuming self-righteousness. Bless all humanity to know Jesus Christ and the Church so that we may weather life’s successes and failures on our way to salvation.

May we experience each stage of aging as nobler and finer than those before it: childhood, adolescence, teenage, young adulthood, middle age, and the senior years, of giving and receiving wisdom and new learning from others. We pray for one another in our times of transitions (which are not always easy and not always short), especially when we relinquish the dynamics of earthly life so that our souls may be liberated. Here, O God, we gather inspiration from our Reformation brother Martin Luther who tells us, “My soul is silence, waiting all humble for God.” 

Bless us, O God, to age with dignity and grace. We ourselves and others often say, “It isn’t easy to grow old.” When spirit, mind, and body show the effects of decades of aging, grant us the wisdom and grace to share and relinquish the social, family, economic, legal, and other initiatives to those who care about us and who can be trusted to bear those responsibilities with us and for us. Help us to accept who we are as our souls move from creation through earthly life to eternity. Gracious God who hears every prayer of every heart, hear us. May love, forgiveness, and the salvation promised in Christ Jesus receive us. AMEN


  1. beccamac2001 says:

    This is lovely .
    The only thing I have a really hard time seeing is you being a curmudgeon.
    That had me
    Aughong til I cried at 6:30 am.
    Hugs from Ptown

    Liked by 1 person

    1. frarthurcmf says:

      generally, i am optimistic 85% of the time. the other 15% i try to stay away from people– lest my mouth get me in trouble. i have my ornery moments– usually when i think that people are getting exploited. if you re-read the post, highlight “quasi” (curmudegeon). God bless you always becca!!


  2. beccamac2001 says:

    Laughing (auto hates me)


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