Aging with grace
Sometimes, I wonder what I will be like when I’m in my 60s or 70s. I’m not entitled to anything, but if God will allow me to live until then, I wonder what kind of job will I be doing. What will I be wearing? Will I still have hair on my head? Will blogging still be appropriate for my age? Will I be a grandfather? Would I be respectable? Or would I be trying hard to be “cool?”
I don’t really know. I’m afraid of getting old. I’m still in denial when my receding hairline tells me that my forehead should increase while my hair decreases.
I always liked a line from one of John Mayer’s songs: “I’m only good at being young.”
But if there’s someone whom I wish to be like when I’m in my 60s or 70s, it is Fr. Jerry Orbos.
Whenever we attend online mass, I like looking at Fr. Jerry. He’s someone who seems to have aged gracefully. How?
He not only accepts his age. He embraces it. He doesn’t complain. He even makes fun of how is no longer young and how difficult it is to do everyday things like changing clothes. He’s not trying hard to look young. He dresses appropriately. His head is full of gray hair and some parts have thinner hair. But because of the joy that emanates from him, because of his warm smile, he always looks youthful and at peace.
Being a priest under a vow of simplicity, he is definitely not the wealthiest. But you can sense how rich he is when it comes to love, respect, and genuine relationships.
He is full of wisdom. Not just knowledge, but wisdom that came from action, experiences, and living a life that’s full.
He is gentle but he has conviction over what he believes in. He is not afraid to call out injustices. But even then, he remains loving and gentle.
He listens. He is not stuck in old ways. Otherwise, how would he be able to connect to younger Catholics?
He is humble. Fr. Jerry is probably one of the well-known priests in our country. He regularly appears on TV and has written a lot of books. Yet, you can feel his humility and gentleness from the way he speaks and interacts with other priests.
He is faithful, not only to God but also to his mission and vocation.
Finally, he is aging gracefully because he is living in God’s grace.
I guess aging with grace is not about my accumulated wealth, my achievements, or how I would look. It’s about living every moment of my life in God’s grace — from which flows love, peace, and wisdom.
“Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by a life that is just.”
Because of Fr. Jerry, I’m a little less afraid of growing old. In fact, I think I’m learning to embrace getting older — whether my head becomes full of gray hair or will have no hair at all.
Father, may I live in Your grace today, in this very moment, and for the rest of my life. May I always live a life of justice and righteousness.