By Sheila Kun RN, BSN, MS, CPN, FCCP
It is natural to consider healthy aging as all the habits that increase physical health. However, we want to discuss this week something that is more valuable than your physical health. We consider spiritual health an important part that grows old together with our body. Our spiritual health or “strong in spirit” needs to get along well with our body. In the aging journey, author Julie-Allyson Ieron in her book Caring for Aging Parents, she noted the seniors among her exhibited habits of the fruit of the Spirit: “ love, joy, peace, patient, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control”.
She also challenges us to think of our own spiritual legacy. I was totally intrigued by this wise suggestion. “What the hack is spiritual legacy?” I uttered to myself. I went on-line and located an article that explains the definition of spiritual legacy. Below is from the usm.maine.edu/lifestorycenter on Your Spiritual Legacy. Hope you enjoy it.
Our story is who we are. All that will remain of us after we are gone is our story. Stories connect us to our roots. Our stories contain our common spiritual heritage. They are also our legacy for future generations. All we are is the story we leave behind.
Leaving the spiritual legacy we want to is about being able to get past the conflict in our lives; it is realizing and living into the resolution of our lives, and being able to pass on our understanding of that entire experience to others. When we do get to the resolution of our story, we have also gotten to the universal in our story and the universal in all life stories. Our spiritual legacy is the story we can be content with, the story that is living out its natural resolution to the conflicts and muddles we have faced in our lives.
Too often legacy is thought of as something tangible, something material, that we have worked hard to achieve and that we leave in a will or as a material product of, or testament to, our lives. But it can be much more than this. A legacy is, first and foremost, “that desire so profound” to leave something behind when we die.
Our spiritual legacy is who we are at our core. What becomes more and more important as we age is the desire to be known — known for who we really were during our brief stay here. What might be one of the saddest things is to leave this earth without those you love the most ever really knowing who you were.
At the heart of everyone’s sacred story is how we have shown, felt, received, and given love in our lives. It is about the compassion, the kindness, the courage, and the beauty that has come into our lives and that has flowed from us but yet remained within us, despite, and because of, all the difficulties and challenges we have endured. It is the story of our soul. This is the story that is a spiritual and eternal gift to others. Leaving our life story as our spiritual legacy is like talking to the seven generations. It is a way of honoring the generations before us and of showing respect for the generations to come after us.
Your homework assignment from the Care Ministry this week: What is your spiritual legacy?
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