Following the death of one of the monks, Merton reflects on aging and memories of his youth. From A Year with Thomas Merton
If I were wiser, I would not mind, but I am not so sure I am wiser. I have been through more, I have endured a lot of things, perhaps fruitlessly. I do not entirely think that–but it is possible. What shakes me is that–I wish I were that rugby player, vain, vigorous, etc., and could start over again! And yet how absurd. What would I ever do?
Seems like I had a conversation about this earlier in the week. People sometimes assume a level of expertise or maturity or wisdom of us when we get older that may not be necessarily true. Lord, let me embrace both who I am and who I am not and be content with that.
Here is a summary of what I have so far–comments or additions
Challenges of ministry in our mid-life years?
- Limited influence
- Financial concerns
- Fear of failure
- Problem of Promotion
- Human development
- Longing for Roots
- Doing versus Being
- Will of God
- Unresolved conflicts
Ministry in the mid-life years
I am giving a seminar on Wed on the above topic. My objective for the attendees: “Help you identify and process your fears about ministry during your mid-life years and design at least three action steps to help you enjoy the blessings of ministry in your mid-life years.”
My main points
1. Challenges of ministry in the mid-life years
2. God and about ministry in the mid-life years
3. Blessings of ministry in the mid-life years
4. What to do to enjoy the blessings of ministry in the mid-life years
If any readers (especially those from the mid-life years and beyond) have ideas in any of these areas, please encourage me and others with your wisdom. Hope to make posts on each of these topics after Wednesday.
Thomas Merton wrote in May 1965 the following:
“When you are beginning to get old, and I am beginning to be old, for I am fifty, both times and places no longer take on the same meaning. Do I have a “day”? Do I spend my “day” in a “place”?
I don’t know where Merton was going with this but I wondered about this idea of having a day or spending a day? Do I think of a day as something to be used for my pleasure, as I see fit? Is the place I spend that day a place of my own choosing or is that another illusion that I have spent a day and in a place? I turned 53 this week, am I beginning to get old? Then, I better start thinking more about my days and places–being present in each moment, wherever God brings me.
Merton’s quote was in A Year with Merton edited by Jonathan Montaldo, May 3