The other day when I was spending time with my good friend Oprah (my spiritual discipline this fall is to spend an hour with her every day while I can! :) Jane Fonda was on and promoting how important it is to do a life review.
She said that we need to go back and remember what happened and what we did and actually feel the feelings. All of this is so true and what i keep learning through spiritual direction.
It is helpful to have a companion in it. Today I visited one of our shut ins who is 93 years old and got to hear some of her story. What was interesting was that our conversation started - as it often does with people who are 80+ - with real concern about what is happening in their life. And her family has got some brokenness - a brother and sister who don't speak to each other, a granddaughter going through a divorce, a son who is alienated from his son. And then there is the brokenness and divisiveness in the media that is played out all the time. It seems like the first reaction to all of these issues for older people is to say - it wasn't that way in the past.
Until we start talking about herpast. And then remembering the divorce of her parents and the blessing of grandparents who helped to raise her. Remembering the time when her husband was in the war and she was on her own with children for 2 years. Remembering some very lean times financially and probably emotionally.And looking back she remembers that somehow she survived and they survived and even thrived.
I think it is easy to look back generally only at the high points and forget the difficulties and the strength that you found in the struggle. So that, when the next generation goes through their own version of difficulty and burden and struggle, we think it is something new and insurmountable. But of course, the God got us through our storms will get them through theirs.
A life review - maybe a systematic appraisal of where you have been and what you have been through. But often a conversation that touches on some of it and helps us to remember.