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Our bodies age–but our spirit is ageless

I turned 84 a couple of days ago, on May 18, and I have to admit, the number does give me something to think about. It has a certain heft to it, doesn’t it. I mean, I kind of made peace with the idea of being 83, but now here is life reminding me again--a bit more forcefully it seems to me--that hey, I really am aging.

JoAnn tries to comfort me, which I appreciate, of course. She is ten months older than me, you see, and made peace with being 84 long ago. “Don’t worry, it’s just a number,” she tells me.

Two things give me comfort as I face the reality of this grim situation. This morning, when I finally made up my mind to clean out the garage and restore order to a messy and, frankly, disgraceful situation—I’m ashamed how long I put up with the mess--my body rose to the occasion. It really did.

I flung myself into action with the enthusiasm of a young colt set loose in a meadow to run and play to its heart’s content. True, I was pretty darn tired when the job was done. I tottered into the living room and sat down in my chair in need of some serious rest.

I know unequivocally that my body will do its best for me until it takes it last breath, and I am immensely grateful for it. But to turn a bit more serious here, I know something else also.

There’s a big difference between my physical body and me. My body is aging, just like your body, and JoAnn’s body. But who I truly am is not aging, just as who you truly are is not aging.

We are spiritual beings who were never born and will never die. Yes, setbacks come in an outer sense as years pass. Illnesses and other challenges come, some minor, some major. Ultimately death itself comes. But who we truly are is untouched by any of it.

I am thankful for the privilege of aging, and the opportunity it brings to explore more deeply into what I believe is life’s greatest paradox—our bodies age, but our spirit is ageless. Last night, I was looking at a picture of myself taken on my mother’s lap when I was about two years old. My body was very different then. It was a child’s body. But the spirit I see shining through those child-like eyes—the sheer joy exuding from those eyes—has not changed at all.

My love is with you. If you have any thoughts on the above, please share.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Faye May 21, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Happy birthday, Chris! Great to hear from you.

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Christopher Foster May 22, 2016 at 9:42 am

Thank you Faye, it’s great to hear from you too. I hope all goes very well.

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Sandra Pawula May 21, 2016 at 4:25 pm

Happy birthday, Christopher. Your courage and enthusiasm in the face of aging, along with your awareness of the spirit within, gives me courage and encouragement. Thank you!
Sandra Pawula recently posted..Practical Wisdom on Success, Sorrow, and Mood Swings

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Christopher Foster May 22, 2016 at 9:45 am

Thank you so much Sandra. I’m very grateful for our connection, seems to me we’ve been trucking along on this journey together quite a while now. Blessings.

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Joy May 21, 2016 at 5:31 pm

Happy Birthday Christopher, such beautiful words of wisdom, I shall bookmark this post to read from time to time, to remind of what really matters. Best wishes Joy 🙂

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Christopher Foster May 22, 2016 at 9:47 am

Thank you and bless you Joy. I really appreciate your support and friendship. All the very best.

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SandiO May 21, 2016 at 5:59 pm

Chris- I love the theme of the Blog!
So many times we can get on with life, and totally lose sight of our chronological age…until our body says, “What were you thinkng?”! I try hard not to think about the number, but as I watch my daughters, now enter ‘middle-age’, it is like someone smacks me in the face!
However, I am happy that I do not stress about my age as I have watched some family members do. They deny each gray hair, or lack of stamina that once was there. I just chuckle to myself and say…”Age is not something you can prevent from happening.”

Thank you for a fun read…and do hope you weren’t too terribly sore from being that ‘young colt set loose in the meadow.!”

Love and Blessings,
Sandi O

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Christopher Foster May 22, 2016 at 9:50 am

Great comment Sandi. I read it out loud to JoAnn and she was howling. I’m most grateful for your support and friendship. Love and blessings to you too.

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Ivan May 21, 2016 at 7:42 pm

Chris, truly we all will age and pass on but our spirits live on. Gita said, whatever happened, happened for the better. What will happen will happen for good. Whatever happening now is great. Forever changing is the law of the universe. Enjoy every moment of life and you are doing an excellent job, my friend.
Love to you and JoAnn,
Ivan

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Christopher Foster May 22, 2016 at 9:56 am

Ivan, thank you so much for your wise and kind words. A long time ago now since we first met, but how delighted I am that we have re-connected after all these years. Keep up the great work. JoAnn says ‘Hi’, and we send love and blessings to you and your family.

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Jody Rivers May 21, 2016 at 7:59 pm

As an avid follower of your blog I look forward to each of your latest posts. This particular post touched me on a very deep level. I just turned 53, and having recently been through a breakup of a 15 year relationship my life has seemed to be spiraling downward at a rapid descent. Been feeling old and useless, and doubtful of ever finding someone else to share my life with. Your words gave me a new perspective on my situation, and much needed hope. To you sir I offer a huge thank-you, and a belated happy birthday wish.

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Christopher Foster May 22, 2016 at 10:17 am

Jody, thank you so much for your words and your sharing. Life seems to like to do this to us sometimes, pick us up and give us a thorough shaking, maybe sweep away some of the things we counted on and that seemed to give our lives meaning and purpose. I’m very glad if the blog helped a bit. I’ve known a fair bit of ‘shaking’ in my own life, but here’s what I can say with absolute certainty. If we stand our ground, and trust life, and keep on keeping on, a new perspective will indeed emerge just as you say. I’ve lost count of situations that happened in my life that I thought were terrible at the time, but which later I realize were a blessing in disguise. “God moves in mysterious ways His wonders to perform.” I forget who said that, but boy, it’s so true. Love to you Jody.

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Veronica May 22, 2016 at 2:19 am

Truly uplifting and beautiful!

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Christopher Foster May 22, 2016 at 10:17 am

Thank you Veronica. God speed.

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Nadeja May 22, 2016 at 6:56 am

Dear Chris,
Someone said something like ” be thankful to be old, it’s a privilege denied to many”.
I have taken this to heart. I am in the process of moving into a senior residence. There are many bright lights there. We celebrated an 89th birthday yesterday and there is a 98 year old who will be moving in in a few weeks! Bright lights! I agree with JoAnn, it’s only a number and I also understand your process, having turned 71 on May 6th. myself. I know it’s a decade before your number, but it’s only a number. 😊😊 . Happy belated Birthday and I look forward to our next trip around the sun. Thank for sharing your heart. Love and blessings to you and your lovely JoAnn.

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Christopher Foster May 22, 2016 at 10:29 am

Nadeja, thank you for your words. It’s always a real delight to hear from you. What a lovely perspective, to see aging as a privilege, not a ‘punishment’. I do wish you well with your move. I’m sure there are many bright lights there, just as you say–so you’re off on a new adventure, in which I’m sure your own ‘bright light’ will not only be welcome but will make its own valuable contribution. My love to you and thank you for your blessings and support.

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Dov May 22, 2016 at 9:28 am

I highly recommend “From Age-ing to Sage-ing” by Rabbi Zalman Schachter. He writes:
“I hope you sense what a glorious future awaits you in old age. No longer will you dread the evening of life as a time of unremitting suffering and futility, but as an opportunity for continued growth in consciousness and service to humanity. What a vista, what a wonderful adventure, what a miraculous window of opportunity awaits us in old age!”
—Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, From Age-ing to Sage-ing: A Profound New Vision of Growing Older

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Christopher Foster May 22, 2016 at 10:33 am

Thank you Dov. What a beautiful comment from Rabbi Zalman Schachter. He sums this whole situation up perfectly, doesn’t he. May his words and spirit continue to bless many, many people.

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Evan Griffith May 22, 2016 at 7:52 pm

Hey you young colt!

Tackling a garage makeover shortly after your 84th birthday . . . that’s impressive at any age.

I always admire and relish how you turn everything back around to our eternal spirits, Chris. Your forever youth shines through in this way.

Sending big happy birthday vibes your way —

Evan
PS: Promise me that on your 100th birthday you’ll only clean out the toothbrush drawer–
Evan Griffith recently posted..Note: Easy

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Christopher Foster May 24, 2016 at 9:39 am

Evan, thanks so much for your warm-hearted support. We’ve been on this journey together for a while now, haven’t we, I’m so grateful for the friendship I share with you and for your lively, unfettered spirit. That said, I’m kind of busy getting used to being 84, can I hold off on making any promises about my 100th birthday for awhile please???

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Evan Griffith May 22, 2016 at 7:53 pm

PS: Chris, you’re going to have to update your About info . . . from 81 to 84 . . . unless you’re trying to pretend to be even younger than JoAnn 😉
Evan Griffith recently posted..Note: Easy

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Christopher Foster May 24, 2016 at 9:41 am

Thanks Evan, oh dear, another ‘senior moment’ on my part I believe…

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Lucille May 22, 2016 at 8:23 pm

Dear Chris,

I absolutely love what you shared from your heart with us…so precious. Thank you. Yes, there can be, and sometimes are, the down-side of aging, but I find that often, or most always, there is the up-side of it too. The body doesn’t do what it used to do as it gets older…I’ve had this experience from time to time and I had to accept that fact, but it didn’t mean I had come to a screeching halt.

No, we slow down but we still continue to move around…what a miracle! And I know, from what you expressed in your letter, that nothing is going to stop you either, because Life IS unstoppable. When you got up and decided to take care of the mess in the garage and felt good about doing it even though tired at the end of the chore, says a lot! It reminded me of the time, this Spring, when I looked out in the front yard and saw a mess out there that needed to be cleaned up, but I kept putting it off until a better time…!! because I knew it would take me more than just a couple of hours to clean it up…and it did, about 4 hrs. each time. I couldn’t do it all in one afternoon or a day. But at the end of each hour, I felt good about it because I put my body to work, and I also came into the house to relax afterwards.

So, I understand perfectly the story you shared with us, because my physical years on earth are 84…but really, it’s only a number. There is definitely something more to us than a physical body and we know that…we know it to be Life…beautiful, glorious Life, lived and cherished in our senior, elder—mature as some call it—or perhaps wiser years?? So, with you, Chris, and everyone we raise our glass of wine—symbolic of Life—in the celebration of your 84th Birthday, and we are thankful for your continued presence on earth. How wonderful it is that we all have the privilege of being on earth do to whatever it is we are here to do at any age, at any level. And so, Chris, I deeply appreciate your story. Cheers! and much Love to you.

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Christopher Foster May 24, 2016 at 10:36 am

Lucille, thank you SO MUCH for your kind good wishes and for your beautiful comment. I’m touched more deeply than I can say by your words, born of your own personal experience and filled with such a strong, uplifting quality. You are an inspiration to your world. I truly admire the way you took care of the clean-up of your yard. Persistence, patience and determination take us a long way, don’t they.

I’m delighted to share with you in your celebration of this opportunity we all have, no matter what our age, to honor this gift of life that we all share. Life is beautiful. Life is glorious. Our circumstances are not all that pleasant sometimes, sometimes challenges come that are pretty steep. But I find the ancient words are forever true. “Perfect love casts out all fear.”

So good to share the journey with you, Lucille. Thank you for your love and support. Blessings.

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Cols conradie May 23, 2016 at 3:47 am

Belated Happy Birthday to you Chris! May God bless you with many more.

Always good to see your e-mails pop up 🙂

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Christopher Foster May 24, 2016 at 10:38 am

Hi Cols, great to hear from you. Thank you for your good wishes. All the very best.

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Camilla A Dunn May 24, 2016 at 4:14 pm

Thanks Chris for your words of wisdom and resonating truth. What a journey we’ve had … What a journey lies in our future. No matter what the number of years … in the present we have the privilege of experiencing the youth of our existence … the richness of our expression … the sweet solitude of one’s self.

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Christopher Foster May 25, 2016 at 10:59 am

Beautiful. Thank you Camilla. Yes, what a journey we’ve had, you, me, our fellow wayfarers, and what a journey lies ahead. Does life have a beginning or an end? Does OUR life have a beginning or an end? I’m not sure it does, really. I love the expansiveness and positive nature of your words. Take care.

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Carina Spring May 25, 2016 at 8:17 pm

Beautiful, beautiful post. Thank you Christopher. 🙂

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Christopher Foster May 27, 2016 at 2:43 pm

Thank you Carina. I checked out your blog, what a lovely picture from Winnipeg.

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Lucille May 25, 2016 at 9:21 pm

Hello Chris,

I noticed an error in my previous comment which needs correction, I said I did 4 hours work each time…huge mistake. It took me 3 days to do the 4 hrs. of work but each day was a good day’s work! Working 4 hrs. at one time would’ve been a bit much physically. I apologize for this oversight…I wasn’t trying to impress anyone.

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Christopher Foster May 27, 2016 at 2:51 pm

Lucille, thanks, but honestly, I’m still very impressed, and very happy to be sharing this adventure of aging with you and with so many others. PS Don’t overdo it, now (as my wife and I often say to each other:-)

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Lucille Goossens May 27, 2016 at 4:19 pm

Haha—I love your added PS….and thanks Chris for your sweet words. 🙂

Maureen Moeller May 26, 2016 at 7:19 pm

Christopher, I have missed you so much. Your words carry love, hope and acceptance for all of your readers. Please know that your message is timeless as is your true essence. JoAnn is so right, our age is only a number and every year we are given is a gift, and I know no one who has accomplished as much as you have in your 80’s. Writing books, a blog, beating cancer and living a fully conscious life is nothing short of inspirational.

You, my dear friend, are a precious gift to your readers and all who cross your path. As I balance on the cusp of my 60th year, I can only hope to accomplish a fraction of what you have. Many blessings to you and JoAnn, and now I’m going to tackle that messy overstuffed closet! Love always, Maureen

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Christopher Foster May 27, 2016 at 3:04 pm

Thank you and bless you Maureen. I treasure your friendship and your support. Yes, every year we are given is a gift, isn’t it. Your words remind me of something my Dad often used to say:”Every day is a bonus.” He was a master at in-the-moment jokes, you would see his lips begin to quiver as a new joke occurred to him and then with exquisite timing out it would come. He lived until 95, and not long before he died was honored by the London Press Club for “75 years brave journalism.” Good luck taming that messy closet, and keep on keeping on. God bless.

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Lucille May 26, 2016 at 8:36 pm

Chris, I so love every word Maureen expressed here with much love and appreciation for you and for all you accomplished on your journey, in the Lord’s Vineyard. I found Maureen’s words truly said it all—perfectly. Blessings and Love to you and JoAnn.

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Joshna Josh July 8, 2016 at 5:49 am

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