Reflections on Aging Well

Author, Living with Purpose in a Worn-out Body: Spiritual Encouragement for Older Adults (Upper Room) and Columnist, Aging Well, United Methodist Reporter

A Reflection for Advent November 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — missybu @ 5:40 pm


 It’s midnight and I can’t sleep.

 The problem is not sugar plums dancing in my head.

 It’s the cookies I haven’t made for tomorrow’s cookie exchange.

 And the menus for Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day lunch. 

 What platters and bowls?  Which serving utensils and glasses? 

 How many sticks of butter?  Corn syrup, light or dark?

 Is there enough time to order photo calendars for the relatives?

 And so I look out the window, as if the answers are written in the night sky. 

 Houses have gone to sleep and it is quiet.

 There is only a strand of colorful lights on a lonely tree in the distance, forgotten by a neighbor. 

  I stand alone with my feelings, overwhelmed by so much to do.

 Then familiar words begin to creep into my restless mind.

 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

One phrase pricks my soul.  The time came. The time came.

Whether or not I am prepared, Christmas comes, just as it came for Mary.

At that moment, the light of the Christmas star illumines my mind.

Is my heart prepared to encounter the coming of Christ?

For what if I make the fudge but miss the shepherds?

What if I polish the silver but miss the angel chorus?

And so, I slip quietly back to bed.

Snuggled beneath the covers, thoughts of cookies fade away.

In this midnight hour, the Christmas star has led me once again to God’s promise. 

Christ is coming.


When grumpy older adults get it right November 10, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — missybu @ 12:06 pm

Yesterday I visited older adult friends at different care centers. At one of the centers, there is a resident who is known to be bitter and grouchy. The residents shy away from him because his negativity is so hard on their spirits. When I arrived, I saw him driving his power chair in my direction. I have reached out to him many times but he has always rejected my efforts.

This time he pulled his chair up close to me. He spoke in a soft, humbled voice. “I just found out I have cancer.” I put my hand on his  arm and told him I was so sorry to hear the news. We chatted a bit, then as he left, I told him I would be praying for him. His eyes filled with tears and he thanked me.

The point is, sometimes older adults have built a tough shell around them. We don’t always know what has soured them on life, but  there are moments when their grumpiness gives way to tears… and the body of Christ needs to be there to hold their hands when it does.