A few weeks ago my godfather celebrated his 90th birthday. At 90 he still plays a solid game of golf, though last week he played only nine holes because the weather was hot and humid—in the mid-90s. He told me that he decided not to push his luck by playing all 18 holes. I was glad to learn he made that judgment. There was a smog alert and a heat warning issued by the local weather station for our region.
Last Friday we enjoyed a leisurely supper and a little wine as a continuation of his birthday party. God has gifted my godfather with good health and a wonderfully sharp mind. About the only concession to age is the fact that he now uses a cane for extra balancing as he walks on uneven surfaces and descends steps.
Longevity is such a magnificent gift that it cries for celebration. But reaching a grand age is not just about staying alive, it is also about accepting God’s gift of life and living it to the full.
In recent years the theme of living a long life to the full was explored in movies such as “The Bucket List” and some less memorable films. One of my favorite books on the topic is Sister Joan Chittister’s audiobook The Gift of Years. Sister Joan urges her readers to cherish longevity as a natural blessing while accepting its challenges with faith and courage.
My godfather seems to do just that. As he reflects on the many events of his life, he feels grateful to God, to family and friends. He enjoys being with his friends, family and golfing buddies. He faces the future with confidence that the Lord will get him through the next couple of decades, or whatever God’s gift of years might be to him.
By Joan Chittister