‘The Paradox and Promise of Later Life: Finding Meaning in the Journey’
It was so encouraging to see the response for the Seminar on Ageing held on 18 June. Fifty people packed into the Robertson Room to hear the Rev’d Professor Dr Elizabeth MacKinlay speak on ‘The Paradox and Promise of Later Life: Finding Meaning in the Journey’.
Here are just some of the messages sent in appreciation of the day:
“Thank-you so much for organising this wonderful event. I really got a lot out of it, and it was obvious that many others also did. We really appreciated the care and attention to detail of you and your team.”
“I went dreading it would be an academic going to give me a load of theory that didn’t relate to real life. Instead Elizabeth gave a beautiful presentation filled with sensitivity and human insight into the world of the aged. I came away wishing everyone in the Diocese could have heard it.”
It is plain that many people are keen to learn all they can about ‘ageing’. As the years pass more and more people are getting older and as a result want to discover what these years are all about. It is incumbent on the Church to be able to minister effectively to all people and to not forget this increasingly larger body of people who are ‘ageing’.
There is much that we as Christians can say about matters like, for example: ‘Facing bodily decline’; ‘Facing challenges of later life’; ‘Living with uncertainty’; AND ‘Finding meaning and hope in the journey’.
The stories of those who are older are very important. Each story is unique and authentic – but narrative gerontology is not about history, it is about persons and their perspective on life and its meaning.
Here is a prayer that we used during the day.
God of the unknown,
as age draws in on us, irresistible as the tide,
make our life’s last quarter the best that there has been.
As our strength ebbs, release our inner vitality,
and help us to remember all you have taught us over the years.
As our energy diminishes increase our compassion,
and educate our prayer-life.
You have made us human to share your divine life;
please make our life’s last quarter the best that there has been. Amen.
- from ‘The New Zealand Prayer Book’