The way we view ourselves changes from period to period in life. It is not a steady-state experience, and its most impacting definition comes in middle age. Then we get all kinds of power—however limited it may be—just by virtue of seniority.
But for those of us on the other side of middle age, it seems we are dismissed just as quietly as we arrived. Power and control cannot be our definition of self anymore.
Now I must find in myself whatever it is that gives me a personal place in the world around me. I am fun to be with; I care about other people; I have begun to live for deeper, richer, more important things than I have ever done before. Then, I begin to see myself differently. I begin to discover that, in many ways, I am far more important now than I have been all my previous life.
Now I see life as something to value for itself. It is the moment of final and full transformation. I have become the fullness of myself, but only after putting down the cosmetics of the self.
Live fully into this day.
Please pray for the ELCA Youth Gathering in Detroit, which begins this week. This message was adapted from “The Gift of Years: Growing Old Gracefully” written by Joan Chittister that first appeared in the March 2008 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.