I’ll be honest: A bit of my logic for joining the ALOA (Adult Lutherans Organized for Action) Board was driven by selfishness. I wanted to learn how to grow old gracefully from people who embrace aging.
Oh, I was willing to serve. I’ve always tried to go through the doors God opens. But I wondered how I, as an early childhood educator, could contribute to an organization that fostered ministry to older adults.
Yet, eight years later, God has transformed my sinful, selfish nature and those uncertainties into showers of blessings.
A long parade of incredibly competent older adults continue to model characteristics that demonstrate how to thrive, not just survive the aging process. As board president, Shirley Carpenter exuded high-energy leadership that continues to fuel older adult ministry in New Jersey. Rev. Ken Holdorf turned his woodworking skills into funding to launch ALOA’s video projects. Current member Deaconess Penny Cedel sets a dynamic pace to achieve ministry goals. And the list could continue.
Here are essential qualities these faithful servants of God continue to model for me:
1. Have a reason to get up in the morning. Whether it’s caring for a cat or serving on the church altar guild, intentionally use the time God gives. Today is a gift to use.
2. Connect. During the pandemic, we were reminded that aging can be a lonely, isolating experience. Whether you Zoom a Bible class, Facetime a grandson, or tweet about a sale at the local grocery store, reach out to others.
3. Celebrate God at work. Look for signs of God at work to see how busy He is! Joy will overflow to fuel new energy for life.
4. Continue learning. Engage your brain. Finish a puzzle. Research staycation or vacation locations. Play a video game.
5. Strengthen your spiritual core. Grow your relationship with Jesus. Read a devotion. Write a prayer each morning. Keep a daily blessings log.
For more inspiration and to learn about ALOA's work and mission, go to aloaserves.org.