The Art of Aging

The thought of autumn probably troubles many of us. When the storms rip the golden yellow leaves from the trees and the wisps of fog block the beautiful view of the mountains, we are not particularly fond of it. In addition, the wet, cold autumn weather comes, which brings discomfort to some. But spring is completely different. When the birds sing again, when the cherry trees blossom and all of nature seems to awaken from its winter sleep to new life, then we are glad! But to be glad in autumn?

Why is that so? Is the reason for it perhaps because autumn reminds us that everything beautiful decays and our lives will once become autumn, and we age and have to die? Yes, such thoughts can come to us in autumn. But that is no reason to fear, mourn, and resign ourselves. Even in autumn, there are still beautiful, warm, and pleasant days. Then the fruits ripen. We harvest and enjoy them. Is that not a joy?

In the autumn of life, when our strength weakens and life becomes more difficult, then we don’t have to work anymore. We can look back on our lives and rest from all hardship. We can rest and prepare ourselves for eternity. This preparation is the greatest task of our lives, but especially when aging. Our death should be a “return home” to God’s glory. Jesus helps us with this if we live with Him here already.

Someone once wrote: I have now become old. But my heart has remained young and would like to do something to show that it is still living. However, it is simply restrained everywhere. In the last ten to twelve years, this has taught me that the most difficult work that is assigned to us is to become old.

The mind cannot think and manage the way it used to. The back is never without pain. Legs and feet don’t want to run anymore, let alone climb and jump. The eyes are failing to see, the ears failing to hear, and the hands failing to sew. My limbs did once everything well and gladly. Yes, yes, that is old age.

In the beginning, you try this and that, even complaining to the doctor until he, with the most pleasant face in the world, says: “Oh, that is simply old age! What do you still want to accomplish with your 86 years? You are still so wonderfully fresh and capable.”

Then I went to Solomon, the wise preacher. He gave me the comforting advice: “…nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his heritage.” If aging is work, then God will help us to do it joyfully.

L. Nodd

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