Previously I wrote about coming frailties, from the viewpoint of someone not-yet-there. Today a few additional observations about this eventual part of aging, from perhaps other points-of-view.
It’s probably useful to push back against imagined frailties. Giving up on God-given strengths and capabilities doesn’t feel quite right. But that might be more difficult to consider when there are few other choices. When the frailments are already grabbing hold of your body, mind and spirit, it’s probably wise to acknowledge some other elder-realities.
For some of us, older adult ailments are chronic. We didn’t ask for these conditions, and even though we’re trying to mitigate their hold on our lives, they’re basically here to stay. Others of us don’t have the resources—financial, emotional, relational, physical—to delay or stave off conditions that erode our well-being. And some of us come to realize when it’s time to admit our shortcomings/weaknesses, name them carefully and figure out how to find joys and purposes that are still possible.
The transition toward frailty is inevitable. The process of identifying the arrival of that life-stage may not be as apparent. What can help navigate frailty’s tipping points is the presence—and wisdom—of those around us. People who love us enough to be honest about our weaknesses and also keep us courageous and hopeful about our continuing capabilities. Their observations and questions are gifts that come in intimate conversations about matters that are difficult to address, or perhaps even frightening to consider.
At its core, this matter is also spiritual—e.g., how we continue to choose our prayers, name our lifework, hold onto Spirit-blessed traits. That’s both comforting—we’re not alone—and emboldening—our core remains solid, focused, dependable.
The bottom line? Frailty—and its accompanying ailments—is part of living a life pleasing to God and beneficial for God’s will. However real or however imagined, it’s not the end of our lives.
We will remain chronically useful.
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