I was delivering a workshop on spiritual care at a conference last week and the debate was robust and interesting. When asked at the beginning of the session to highlight things which are important to them which they would not wish to lose as they aged included:
- being able to go outside
- enjoy the garden
- continue to have a good coffee each morning to set them up for the day
- choose music and
- continue their faith practice
Two other important themes emerged – humour and hope. Clearly there needs to be fun in considering our spiritual lives and I will embrace this in the future. Laughter is wonderful for the spirit and this needs to be encouraged.
Hope, however, is essential. We need to encourage people to see the potential and to identify things which contribute to this sense. The participant who raised the issue said that as her family were all long-lived she was going to plan in accordance with her expected life-span. She still had much to achieve and to enjoy. This approach was echoed for me this morning when I was chatting to an older woman at the bus-stop. She was telling me that she was moving house after 48 years. She couldn’t climb the stairs easily and her husband could no longer take care of the garden. At the age of 86 she felt she had another 4 years and so was planning to enjoy them more easily and to clear the mountain of things she and her family and built up over the years.
Hope might not be found in moving house or having a plan but we need to find ways of instilling this feeling. Spring engenders our feeling of hope and renewal with the advent of daffodils and the crocus together with a new warmth. We need to develop an openness to considering our spiritual lives which embraces what matters to each of us.
21 March 2016