I’m back from some medical problems and a nearly dead computer. I am staying strong for life is a wonderful struggle. This post looks at religion and philosophy.
This post is a response to this Daily Prompt question. What are your thoughts on aging? How will you stay young at heart as you get older? As I was thinking about my answer, I read this response and decided to re-blog it and then discuss the thoughts it called for in me. The quest blogger was hosted by the Simply Sage blog and identified only as Steve.
THE Reblog: how a Christian stays strong
The other day I was talking with a 75-year-old woman about the frustrations of aging. The aches and pains, the limited mobility, the failing memory, the sagging skin—how it all created significant frustration.
We joked about the 98-year-old woman who told me the best thing about wrinkles is that they don’t hurt. Then, in a tone more serious, she admitted she just didn’t understand the value of all this “getting old” business. She posed a valid question. The question prompted some thinking,
Might there be a valid reason?
My Dad always told me he wanted as many birthdays as he could have as long as he knew he was having them. Over the years, he collected more than his share of serious ailments. No one loves his family or wants to be with them more than Dad. So far, he is still hanging in there. But I wonder if he is beginning to question that statement.
Like me, my Dad is a Christian. We believe in the place the Bible calls Heaven, and life will be better there than here. It is a beautiful place filled with reunion, the pain and suffering will go away, and the tears will be wiped away from our eyes. Life will be better!
So there, in the midst of that conversation, it struck me. Maybe this horrific thing called aging has a purpose. By allowing us to change our sights from the here and now to the eternal, it reminds us that we are visitors here, waiting for our trip home.
And most of all, it reassures us that the best is yet to come. The few glimpses of Heaven in the Bible show it to be an extraordinary place, a place so wondrous the Apostle Paul could find no earthly words to describe it. For our families it takes away a bit of the sting of death. When they compare their loss to the gain of the loved one passing, only the selfish can wish for the situation to be different.
So what should we do in the meantime? Remember the answer to the riddle attributed to King Solomon? The riddle inquires—What four words will make a happy man sad and a sad man happy? The answer was inscribed on the inside of a ring—“This too shall pass.” And in either case, isn’t this the truth? Life is indeed fragile and every moment is a gift from God. Because of Heaven, we can have peace in the midst of all circumstances and hope in a future that bears no suffering.
This life does not end here. It is just the beginning.
So for now, love the life you are given, accept the ailments as a badge of honor, and remember—your Heavenly Father has a better life ahead.
Emotional Fitness Thoughts
Some researchers and therapists point out that a philosophy of life is essential to mental health what I mean when I say Emotional Fitness. Why is a philosophy of life essential? How we explain the world, our place in it, and how good and bad happen lends structure and certainty to the journey here.
The nature of that philosophy seems to matter less than that one has one. The Emotional Fitness Training edict to think about what matters points you to finding and examining your philosophy of life.
My personal examinations have lead me to the belief there is a source of all things. The scientific world cannot explain how all came to be. Talk of The Big Bang leaves unanswered what was banging together.
So I call what lies beyond human comprehension the Source. I think the building block of the Source is DNA. I was lead to that idea by Lewis Thomas. He notes in his book The Lives of the Cell, the wonders of our world are due to the mutating ability of DNA.
DNA is planned, but also planned to mutate. To me, the nature of the Source seems to be planned randomness including occasional miracles. Miracles occur when it seems the Source intervenes personally in some extraordary way in a person’s life.
The big question remains what is the nature of the Source. Good or Evil? The debate has existed since humans began tospeak and think deeply. I hope the power of love prevails, but that is a personal belief or an individual interpretation of whether good or evil prevails.
Individual interpretations rest on personal experiences combined with the voices in their environment that speak the loudest, Then come the thought shifts of adolescence. For many, those thought shifts make possible thinking about the unseen, the might be, the what ifs,and the abstract rather than the concrete – what is seen, touched, or felt personally.
Because of these shifting thoughts, not all, but many adolescents think about what has been taught and question former beliefs. Some stay with former beliefs, others take on opposite beliefs, and many eventually incorporate the old into the new as I have done.
One of the attributes of Emotional Intelligence is Self-Awareness. This means thinking more deeply about what guides your life. The hope of a better here- after is an offering of most religions. Hope motivates and strengthens. However, as Steve points out, now is what we have been given and our task remains living it to the fullest.
Emotional fitness tip
Think about the core beliefs of your religion. Which beliefs promote kindness and which lead to cruelty. Protest the cruel, promote kindness for all.
For those of you who have turned away from religion or from a belief in God. Have you thrown out the good religion offers along with the bad? Think some more. Seek the wisdom that can be found in all religions while casting out the bad.
For everyone of you make Practicing Kindness you way of life; your way of putting your beliefs into action.
A rabbi wrote that the Torah, the sacred text of the Jews, is both simple and complex. Simple because of the belief in one God who only demands we practice kindness to all. Complex because practicing kindness to all is very complex.
The thought that came to me when I read that Rabbi’s thoughts was that simple and complex also describes people. We view them as simple upon meeting them, but as we know them better we find all sorts of complexities. This also applies to ourselves, we often think simply and in sound bytes; but behind the simple lies complexity.
Do both. Never stop with the simple, think more deeply, and practice kindness more thoughtfully.
As always thank you for all you do. Share and care as it is one of the few paths to peace for all.
LINKS OF INTEREST
- In Defense of Religion (theguardian.com)
- The Root of All Evil (wikipedia.org)
- Twelve Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises (Amazon.com)
- Word Press Daily Prompt (wordpress.com)
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