We’re All Aging

Lenten Reflection, Friday, March 18

By: Eleanor Wellford

Life is getting somewhat back to the way we remember it being at St. Mary’s! We’re now offering Sunday worship in both Little and New St. Mary’s; we’re having Sunday School again, either inside or outside; we had a parish supper with Carrie Schaeffer as our amazing Lenten speaker; and we had our first parish breakfast – complete with Ralph’s and Bill’s world-famous cinnamon rolls. Both meals were where they were supposed to be: seated and in the Parish Hall. And starting this Sunday, the Forum will be back and led by David.

Something else happened last Sunday that wasn’t widely known throughout the parish. Eldergarden met for the first time since early 2019; and the work that was started and then stopped so suddenly because of COVID will soon begin again.

What is Eldergarden? It is a ministry of aging at St. Mary’s church and was started by Sydna Street, Jane Covington, and Peggy Talman Brockenbrough, when all three of these “Founding Mothers” were facing issues common to an aging population – health, death of loved ones, changing living situations, and grief associated with loss. Although they leaned on each other for support, they realized that what they were learning from their experiences could benefit others in our parish who will at some point face similar issues. Thus, the Eldergarden ministry was born.

“Aging is not for sissies” is certainly true and so is this bit of wisdom: “Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine!” Aging is all about change and no generation escapes it. It’s how we honor change, especially as it relates to aging, that is important and included in the ministry of Eldergarden.

As our current leader, Suzanne Munson Jernigan, said in our meeting last Sunday: “We all have expiration dates! We just don’t know when they are!” And that’s why preparation is so important. Beginning in the fall of 2022 and throughout the year, Eldergarden will be presenting speakers and workshops which should benefit those who are growing older or who are adult children of parents who are making important decisions about their future. The first series in the Fall will address “Choices for Living: Decisions for Retirement Years”.

We’re all aging. It’s part of this wonderful gift of life that God gave us. And thank God we have choices in how we live it. Let’s find out, together, what they are!