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“Old age brings diminishments,” writes psychologist Erik Erickson.
He describes how the elderly experience this: “Old patients seem to be mourning not only for time forfeited and space depleted but also ... for autonomy weakened, initiative lost, intimacy missed, generativity neglected - not to speak of identity potentials bypassed or, indeed, an all too limiting identity lived.”
In Matthew Linn’s book, “Healing the 8 Stages of Life,” an unknown senior citizen was quoted describing this world of “diminishment:”
“Everything hurts and what doesn’t hurt doesn’t work.
The gleam in your eye is from the sun hitting your bi-focal.
You feel like the night before and you haven’t been anywhere.
Your little black book contains only names ending in M.D.
You get winded playing cards.
Your children begin to look middle aged.
You join a health club and don’t go.
A dripping faucet causes an uncontrollable bladder urge.
You look forward to a dull evening.
You need glasses to find your glasses.
You turn out the lights for economic rather than romantic reasons.
You sit in a rocking chair and can’t get it going.
Your knees buckle but your belt won’t.
Your back goes out more than you do.
You have too much room in the house and not enough in the medicine chest.
You sink your teeth in a steak and they stay there.
You know all the answers, but nobody asks you the questions.”
No matter the diminishment, one can choose wisdom and integrity.
Not only mourn the diminishment ... but ultimately discover and cherish the “gift in it.”
As deaths from the Coronavirus outbreak increases, we face the fact that we’re all going to die - sooner or later. Sometime anyway.
With that then, we can begin to find the gift in it by answering such questions as:
“What do I need to accomplish before I die?”
“What truly matters in my own life?”
“If Coronavirus takes me and is giving me only a few days to live, what would I do?”
The sooner we ask finding the gift in death, disease, or shortened years, the more we experience joy and peace to let go back into the Hands of One who made us and we will be forever.