Kathleen Montgomery was the first layperson to become executive vice president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, holding that role from 1985 until 2013. She is now retired and serves as editor of this top-drawer resource. Nineteen authors share their experiences, ideas, and ideals at the intersection between aging and spirituality. Montgomery closes the introduction with this:
"The French have a phrase for that part of the day when it is no longer daylight but not yet dark, L'Heure Blue. In English, The Blue Hour. Photographers call it "the sweet hour" because of the quality of the light. That's how I've come to think of this stage of life: bittersweet and beautiful because of the quality of the remaining light."
Here are some quotations from the authors to give you the flavor of their essays and concerns about aging and spirituality:
- "I witness that I was and am nourished and sustained by goodness, corrected by goodness, and called by goodness to trust a future that rationally and experientially I cannot know."
— Carl Scovel
- "In humility, I acknowledge that I don't know where the road is going to lead. By intention, I choose to trust that life's gifts will surprise me."
— Maureen Killoran
- "What takes a toll is having to pay attention almost all of the time: needing to plan where I can stand, calculating how far I can walk."
— William Sinkford
- "The good news is that I am not aging on my own. Most of my friends are all right there with me."
— Phyllis S. O'Connell
- "What, I wonder, is it like to have nothing to prove?"
— Peter Morales
- "There is so much that is out of my hands, and my hands are slowly coming unclenched. "
— Susan Weston
In these nineteen essays by elders, we see the importance of the spiritual practices of attention, gratitude, being present, joy, wonder, questing and meaning. Despite the limitations of old age, most of these long-lived men and women are optimistic and hopeful, character traits that serve them well at this stage of life.