Sometimes as people age we watch the fire in their eyes die long before their breath grows cold. Women of faith falter as they spend the winter of their years alone. Men who were once pillars of their community become empty shells. Thankfully not every one ages in this way, dying before their time. Others find strength in faith and cling tenaciously to life continuing to give and grow. Robert Atwell, the current Anglican archbishop of Stockport has written a book about the spirituality of aging which promises to help us make the most out of the last quarter of our lives.
Atwell begins Soul Unfinished with an invitation. In our day and age, we can generally expect to live longer than our parents and grand-parents. So when retirement rolls around, we can choose to not give up but keep on living. Atwell exhorts us to continue taking risks, share wisdom and to go deeper in our relationship with God. Atwell then describes retirement age, life in later years, memories and the role of elders in nurturing corporate memory, the healing painful memories, forgiveness and reconciliation, self discovery and becoming and finding happiness, joy and gratitude.
I am not from the demographic which Atwell is writing. As I am still in my thirties I hope I am not in the last quarter of my life! Therefore it is difficult for me to evaluate the content; however I have ministered to seniors and can see the wisdom and sensitivity with which he approaches the issues. Seniors need to be told that they still have something valuable to offer, that their life is not over and that this is the time to deepen their faith relationship. Nearing sixty himself, Atwell doesn’t write disinterested advice as retirement is just around the corner for him too.
I gleaned from Atwell insights into how to speak meaningfully to people at this stage in life; yet the people who will find this book most valuable are seniors and those nearing retirement. I think this would make a great gift book for the well loved retiree in your life. At the time of this posting, the e-book of this book is $2.99 on Amazon.
Thanks to Paraclete Press for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for this review.