Minister’s Message: The Gift of Aging

Feb 29, 2024 | Beacon, News, Top News

Halleluiah by Mary Oliver
Everyone should be born into this world happy
and loving everything.
But in truth it rarely works that way.
For myself, I have spent my life clamoring toward it.
Halleluiah, anyway I’m not where I started!
And have you too been trudging like that, sometimes
almost forgetting how wondrous the world is
and how miraculously kind some people can be?
And have you too decided that probably nothing important
is ever easy?
Not, say, for the first sixty years.
Halleluiah, I’m sixty now, and even a little more,
and some days I feel I have wings.

When I proposed to the Lay Pastoral Ministry Team that we create a book discussion group focusing on aging, I couldn’t imagine that it would spark such great interest. Over 20 people have been participating both in person and on zoom! While we initially planned to schedule only three sessions, when the time came to end the series, people asked to continue on a monthly basis. Ours is a welcoming, diverse, and dynamic group that offers wisdom from life experiences and shares information and resources. Most of all, we are creating a space where people can feel heard and held in community. I have personally found this group to be a tremendous source of strength and support as I care for my mom “Mama Lily” who will be 94 in September.

Here are some of the topics we have covered and keep coming back to: The importance of community in building resilience and combating isolation; Reviewing your medical directives, wills, and making sure your family knows where these documents can be found when needed; Aging while also caring for aging parents; Approaching the age of retirement while raising teens and caring for aging parents; Articulating and processing grief over loss of independence, mobility, friends, and family members; Fear of dementia; End-of-Life care options; Green burials; Decluttering as a spiritual practice and a kindness to our family members.

Do any of these topics interest you? Do you have another topic related to aging that you would like to discuss with the group? Would you like to meet individually with a member of the lay pastoral care ministry team, or with the Minister to discuss any of these issues? Please feel free to contact Milly Mullarky at [email protected] or Rev. Maria Cristina at [email protected]

Our next meeting is scheduled for Sunday March 24 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm in person or on zoom. Everyone is welcome!

While it is not necessary to have read the books that are inspiring our conversations, you might want to check them out: 1) The Gift of Aging: Growing Older with Purpose, Planning, and Positivity, by Marcy Cottrell Houle and Elizabeth Eckstrom. 2) From Age-ing to Sage-ing: A Revolutionary Approach to Growing Older, by Salman Schachter-Shalomi and Ronald S. Miller. 3) The Seasoned Soul: Reflections on Growing Older by Rev. Eliza Blanchard (Unitarian Universalist).

by Rev. Dr. María Cristina Vlassisdis Burgoa