6) At Peace With Growing Old

From a letter by Hannah Whithall Smith (1832-1911):
     We are in 1903 and I am nearly seventy-one years old.  I always thought I should love to grow old, and I find it even more delightful than I thought.  It is so delicious to be done with things, and to feel no need any longer to concern myself much about earthly affairs.  I seem on the verge of a most delightful journey to a place of unknown joys and pleasures, and things here seem of so little importance compared to things there, that they have lost most of their interest for me.
     I cannot describe the sort of ‘done-with-the-world’ feeling I have.  It is not that I feel as if I was going to die at all, but simply that the world seems to me nothing but a passage way to the real life beyond; and passage ways are very unimportant places.  It is of very little account what sort of things they contain, or how they are furnished.  One just hurries through them to get to the place beyond.
     My wants seem to be gradually narrowing down, my personal wants, I mean, and I often think I could be quite content in the poor-house!  I do not know whether this is piety or old age, or a little of each mixed together, but honestly the world and our life in it does seem of too little account to be worth making the least fuss over, when one has such a magnificent prospect close at hand ahead of one; and I am tremendously content to let one activity after another go, and to await quietly and happily the opening of the door at the end of the passage way, that will let me in to my real abiding place.  So you may think of me as happy and contented, surrounded with unnumbered blessings, and delighted to be 71 years old.


John 16:22  —  (Jesus said),  “So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

Hebrews 11:1  —  Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Philippians 1:21-23  —  For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.   If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far…  (NIV)


The peace of God be with you;
The peace of Christ be with you;
The peace of the Spirit be with you;
And with your children;
From the day that we have here today,
Until the day of the end of your lives.
–Celtic blessing