Living in the Now Can be a Gift

Living in the Now Can be a Gift

Jim Stinson, Former Consultant on Older Adult Ministries


Alive Now, published by The Upper Room—a ministry of the United Methodist Church—is one magazine my wife, Barbara, and I enjoy. When reading it the other night I found my mind wandering from the writings themselves to the title, Alive Now. Who thought of the name?  What is its origin? Did the title decide the purpose of the magazine or did the name come first, helping to decide its direction? I have been playing with the words and discovered how many times they have come from my lips.

I can’t help but think of my time as director of spiritual life of United Methodist Homes and the number of times residents would fret about the past and the future. This fretting often led to an inability to live comfortably in the present moment. While the fretting was understandable, it served no useful purpose.

A frequently asked question was, “Why am I still here?”  My answer was a variation of “I don’t know.” But the fact is you are still here. You are still alive now! What are you going to do about that? The present is too good a gift to be wasted. Whatever the ultimate reason, the fact is still a fact.

The good news is that our faith offers more than a clue or two on how to move forward.  These clues are found in the call to discipleship: Follow me. I’ve yet to meet anyone, regardless of age or health, who could not be loving, which is surely part of that call. Not to challenge older adults to find meaning in their declining years by relating them to  their discipleship is to miss an opportunity for life giving ministry. Although it may be difficult to offer the challenge to a person in physical or cognitive decline, it is even so, when heard, truly life giving.

Even as I feel changes that come with my own aging, when I live into the basic call, somehow the changes feel less important. The challenge as we change is to find new ways to remain faithful, to always discover we are alive now and to help others to make the same discovery.