Our lives mirror creation, especially noticeable in the cycle of seasons. In November, as the days grow shorter and the light dims, I’ve been reflecting on God’s mysterious ways in my interior life. With a nod to Erik Erikson, I long to be a generative elder rather than a stagnant, withered old lady!
Generativity excites me as it calls me to nourish life in others. What a powerful quality! To be generative is to model ourselves on Mary, our mother. She consented to carry Jesus within for nine months and then to deliver Him to the world. Her union with God was both spiritual and enfleshed in a unique way.
There are days in my Iife when I am very aware, like Mary, that God is closer to me than I am to myself. On these days I join my voice to Mary’s in her magnificat. My joy in God energizes my desire to be generative. I freely give myself by reaching out to others in need, I open myself to truly listen to another without judgment, I affirm someone struggling with shame, I step out of my comfort zone to meet the stranger in my midst.
On other darker days, I am more aware of my own emptiness, my waning energy, my temptation to choose the easy way out, to focus on taking care of number one. On these days, my soul is stagnant. I experience the coldness of these winter days, the frozen state of merely existing, not companioning others as they search for meaning in their lives.
What awakens me to life again is Mary's example. She gently reminds me that generativity is a choice, a sharing stance that gifts me as much as it gifts the other. Just as she humbly responded to the angel with a wholehearted Yes to conceive and bring forth a Savior, may we have the courage to live our elder years in a joyful posture that says Yes to God. Yes, count me in! With Your grace, I, too, can be the instrument of birthing new life.