Wherever you turn these days, you seem to be assaulted by the topics of age and aging. They're the topics of discussion in many communities and often featured in the local press. They're the focus of debates and conferences, national and global.
Among recent topics are the protracted retirement years ahead for post World War II "baby boomers" and the anxiety felt among seniors about their increasing age-related health needs.
But these concerns don't have to dominate people's lives. Take my friend Ed, who is a marvel. Though he is well advanced in years, he is productive, energetic, caring, and seems on the cutting edge of everything. Ed is an active Christian Scientist. He prays regularly. He is a thinker, a spiritual investigator. He knows all about current events. He looks into everything. You want to know about computers, websites, phone systems? He will explain.
Ed helps neighbors by harvesting their fruit from the uppermost boughs. He rides white-water rapids. Cycles in the mountains. For me, he epitomizes Mary Baker Eddy's statement, "We live in an age of Love's divine adventure to be All-in-all" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," p. 158).
I find it wonderful to think of age as a period marked by the development and unfoldment of good. But what is "All-in-all"? To me that phrase is about finding God to be everything, for everyone, everywhere, at every moment. At all times, in all places, for all of His children, God is revealing the reality of spiritual being. And this can lead us to look at age differently.
The Bible is a good starting point. After discussing what a search to understand God entails, the book of Job talks about the spiritual rewards, including the comforting assurance that "thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning" (Job 11:17).
Vitality, energy, buoyancy result from realizing that God is the only source of good, and that your very being flows from that source. That's why it's natural for us to be expectant, strong, resilient, appreciative of others, eager to express thanks for the joy we see around us each day. We can even be bubbly. The Bible tells us that God is the "fountain of life" (Ps. 36:9).
People don't all view things this way. They are sometimes sidetracked by the toll they feel the passing years are taking on them or their relatives, friends, and neighbors. But I have found that as you grow spiritually, these "old age" concepts begin to feel "age old" – outstripped and no longer relevant. For me, it's "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" that has the answer: "Life and goodness are immortal. Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight" (p. 246).
Nothing can keep us from doing that. It's never too late to begin letting go of limitation and accepting the evidence of spiritual sense. There aren't two of us – one we want to be, and one we want to get rid of. There is in reality only one – God's child, right here and now.
Every day I ask myself: How's your spiritual curiosity? Your willing to accept new views? How openly do you express love, forgiveness, respect? Positive answers lead to spiritual development – "loveliness, freshness, and continuity," rather than "age and blight."
Each day I take what I've come to call a "metaphysical sunbath." I reflect on God's unconditional love. I'm comforted that God approves of me, is delighted in me, is thrilled with me. I am His beloved child, His flawless reflection.
Each time the word age crops up, I try not to think of ripening years, but of a spiritual journey through unfolding good, steady development, and inspiring revelation. I'm more convinced than ever that Love's "divine adventure" is always ahead of us.
Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.