Heni J.M. Nouwen

Heni J.M. Nouwen has written the book, “Aging. The Fulfillment of Life”, which, I believe,summarizes what he refers to as “the great wheel of life”. He considers each phase of life as “spokes on a wheel” and the turning the “fulfillment of the life cycle moving forward”. Nouwen believes that, “Aging does not need to be hidden or denied, but can be understood, affirmed and experienced as a process of growth by which the mystery of life is slowly revealed to us.” Interestingly, he uses the visual of an old wagon wheel which doesn’t speed along but kind of lumbers and touches each part of the ground it covers. We are all aging and those of us who are further along experience the prejudice in our society which accompanies the process. It causes me to ponder what my own thoughts were as a child and then young adult about aging. As hard as I try, I cannot conjure negative memories but just older individuals. I remember a favorite question I asked of my elders was, “wouldn’t you want to be younger?” Unanimously, the answer was always,”no!”. I would always put this off as envy because of course, wouldn’t everyone want to be young? As I have aged, however, I understand that if the return to youth would mean the reliving of all the events over and over without change such as in the movie, “Groundhog Day”, I say “no!”. To re-enforce the negative aspects, the thought comes: “if I change one thing,even an event I perceive as ‘bad’ would I cause a good to be eliminated down the line?”, and I am totally happy with where I am today. I will use this blog to review more of Nouwen’s views on Aging. I would love to hear some of yours.

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