Friday, March 22, 2024

The Joy and Hope of Aging

When you think of aging, what mental picture do you have? 

David Allan Hubbard, former president of Fuller Seminary, once wrote a book on Ecclesiastes called Beyond Futility. In it he tells a story about a teacher and theologian he knew who also happened to be a mountain climber. Hubbard recalls the man once saying, "I would like to get another crack at the Alps or at least tackle the Grand Tetons." Hubbard goes on to say:

I looked at his tall frame, trim as a javelin, erect as a lance. My amazement was not based on any doubt about his climbing prowess. His feats were known to a wide circle of his acquaintances. What surprised me about his hopeful words as he recalled his desire to scale the Alps or take on the Tetons was that he knew what it was to grow older without allowing the thought of the reality of aging to destroy his spirit. You see, he was 90 years of age when he spoke these words to me. He had learned in the process of growing older to mature. His spirit had enlarged and ripened, even while his body felt the taxing toll of time. Joy and hope were strong even when muscles and sinew had begun to weaken. Coping with the futility that some feel in old age was a skill he had developed and mastered well. His vitality defied the old grotesque picture of aging.

This year I will turn 72. How old will you be? As you age, may joy and hope remain strong as you celebrate one birthday after another.