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Seasons of Life

Our Daily Bread, May 2

The closing years of life can be peaceful, happy, and productive. A man or woman of God doesn't need to escape them by dwelling on past glories; nor does he need to make them miserable by developing a bitter, complaining spirit. God gives the whole of life to live, and the psalmist suggests that even our later years can be fruitful and flourishing. But we must begin by being happy now!

The well-known Christian psychiatrist Paul Tournier gives insight on this subject in his book The Seasons of Life. He writes, "True happiness is always linked with deep, inner harmony. It therefore always implies an acceptance of one's age; the acceptance of no longer being a child when one has reached the age of adulthood, and the giving up of the goals of active life when one is advance in years. This is the age of retirement, which for some men can be a meaningful experience, while for others it is a cruel trial.

Why such differences? Partly, undoubtedly, this comes from differences in temperament. Yet more so from something else. Those who complain about their retirement are usually the same ones as those who used to complain about their work and longed to be set free from it!"