Ernest Dempsey — This week, I had a brief email Q & A with a number of writers, mostly senior citizens, on their thoughts about “aging and elders”, since that is the theme of the next issue of my journal Recovering the Self. One of the writers contacted for this correspondence was Heyward B. Ewart, Ph.D., President of St. James the Elder Theological Seminary, that combines distance learning with close personal interaction and supervised experience. He is the author of AM I BAD? Recovering from Abuse (2007) and SOUL RAPE: Recovering Personhood After Abuse (set for October release, Loving Healing Press). He is also Patriarch of the Holy Catholic Church International. Below are Father Ewart’s responses to my question about aging.
Ernest: What do “old” and “young” mean to you?
Heyward: “Young” means endless possibilities for a fulfilling life but all depends on finding out why we were born. The only way to get the answer is to ask our Creator. Trial and error always fail. “Old” means that you either did or didn’t get the answer. Most people go to their graves without ever discovering why they have lived.
Ernest: How does aging enrich our life?
Heyward: If your life has been lived well, you can thoroughly enjoy fulfillment and look forward to each new day. You can find new challenges built upon what you have already learned and find many paths to make your own happiness. If you have never developed a sense of self according to how God sees you, you have nothing to look forward to but the end.
Ernest: What is the worst thing about aging that makes one dread it?
Heyward: The worst thing is loneliness; that is, never being able to be as involved with your loved ones as you so desperately want to be. The next worst thing is a feeling of helplessness especially when sick.
Ernest: Your comment on our how our time’s media, including entertainment industry, generally picture the elderly.
Heyward: The media too often portray the elderly as has-beens with nothing to offer, when the very opposite is true. As recently as 50 years ago, old people were seen as a priceless resource for wisdom and guidance.
Ernest: What is one thing we must remember when we see the first silver threads in our hair?
Heyward: When we see the first silver threads in our hair, it is time to wake up and redouble our efforts to contribute all we can to the young.
To read more about Father Ewart, follow the link http://stjamestheelderseminary.org/Home_Page.php.