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MARCH 24, 2014

"Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive. If life is to be sustained hope must remain, even where confidence is wounded, trust impaired." Erik Erikson

After rocking my eleven month old grandson to sleep yesterday I looked into his peaceful face and acknowledged the “spring season” of his life. Like us, those before us and many after us there is for him, hopefully, that journey from “spring” to the “winter” season of life.

During this brief moment in time I reflected on my days at the university and the course that I thought to college sophomores: Educational Psychology. A favorite component of that course was Erik Erikson’s stage theory of psychosocial development where he saw personality as developing throughout one’s life.

If there is any credence to Erikson’s theory we “Trojans” during the “fall season of our life” (middle adulthood to the retirement age of 65) have asked the question: "How can I contribute to the world?" During this time we continued to build our lives, focused on our careers and families and contributed to the world by being active in our homes and communities. We have created or nurtured things that will outlast us -- our children and our contributions to positive changes that benefited other people. We have “made our mark" on the world and made this world a better place.

In the final stage of Erikson's theory of psychosocial development, the “winter of our life,” many of us now ask the question: "Did I live a meaningful life?" The answer is not “blowing in the wind” but rather it is predicated on much of the former season. But still, there are miles to go before we sleep.

Even though in the winter of our lives the nights can be very long and the days short, there is a number of fun, productive and interesting activities that we can engaged in. Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is germane to each of us to learn how we can better enjoy our “winter season” with these new and fresh ideas! There are miles to go before we sleep.

We must reflect back on our life –the life that we have lived and come away with a sense of fulfillment, a feeling of pride for our accomplishments and a sense of integrity. We have attained wisdom that will sustain us even when confronting death.

As long as Thy God is God above let us sing “To God Be the Glory for these seasons” and the things that He has done for us.


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