Thursday, July 13, 2017

This Stage of Life: Thursday's Reflection

What a week. Sobering and sad, but also clarifying and even uplifting. 

This has been a week to confront some of the realities of this stage of life. The Third Chapter. 

First, long time friends spent the night, and we were witnesses to their struggles. The wife in the couple has a degenerative condition, and we could see how much she has changed since the last time we saw her. We saw how her husband has moved into the caretaking role and the toll it is taking on him. The outlook is grim, and we ache for them.

Second, we attended a funeral for a man who died of ALS. He and his wife are members of our congregation. Our faith family.  We felt compelled to be there, to participate in this ritual, to support his wife as she enters a new stage of life. 

Third, we attended a presentation on green cremation by Bradshaw Funeral and Cremation Services and were so impressed by what we learned. Green cremation is a flameless, eco-friendly alternative to traditional cremation. We left the session feeling clear about this choice for ourselves, and now we will take the next step and tend to all those future arrangements while we are healthy and able.  

How often have you heard someone say, "Old age is not for the faint of heart"? That statement carries some truth, I agree, but doesn't go far enough. Old age is a time to strengthen the heart, open the heart, examine the heart, live from the heart. 

             How to make these last days count, God? To
             live them with courage, and without complaint.
             To give and receive small joys. To teach the
             best already learned and to learn a little more.
                                         Avery Brooke

Yes, sobering and sad, but clarifying and uplifting, too. 

An Invitation
What plans have you made for your own funeral? Do you have a health care directive? Have you had these conversations with your loved ones? I would love to know.

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