What is health ? What is good health?
Recently Jerry and I have lost two dear friends. I am reminded of my great Aunt Mary ( my grandfather’s sister) who faced getting older with her usual courage and determination and honesty. She used to say that the hardest thing for her was the loss of contemporaries – those who understood the life stage she was experiencing. When Aunt Mary talked like this I thought I was being very sympathetic but now realize this is a life experience where you can only really grasp the sadness when you experience it yourself.
Also the father of one of our precious daughters in law died during this period. He and his wife lived so many miles away we did not know him very well. But we will always be grateful to him for our daughter in law.
Jerry and I are blessed to be in our 80’s and to be in reasonably good health. I think there are four categories of heath: mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.
Recently we ran into a contemporary friend, Phil, in the parking lot of our golf club. We had not seen him or his wife Pat since last Fall. About a year ago he and Pat sold their home and moved to a senior retirement community. He shared with us that that day was their fifty eighth wedding anniversary. I wondered where Pat was since she was an avid golfer like her husband. Phil seemed to sense my question. He said that he was on his way to visit Pat that she was now in the memory care section of their community. Jerry and I were so taken aback. We tried to offer appropriate words of support.
Mental health is so tricky. We were never that close to Phil and his wife – they were friends but not close friends – to know if they took any special steps to maintain their mental health. With bridge, scrabble, crossword puzzles and Wordle , and an avid interest in current events and our book group, and following the activities of our beloved children and grandchildren, I feel like Jerry and I are appropriately mentally challenged.
Physically it is very easy for us to maintain a meaningful exercise program. We both might be classified by some as golf nuts. We love the game and can be found on the golf course two to three times a week. It all depends on how our body parts are holding up, and how the weather is behaving. On days when the weather is not conducive to golf we usually are able to get in a mile walk.
Emotional health and spiritual health are usually considered separately. But for me they are intertwined. On days when my emotional health is out of whack I am grateful to have my spiritual beliefs to get me back on track.
It is important for me to nourish my spiritual side. I try to start each day with a God conversation – sometimes it is brief, sometimes it is a bit longer. It gives value to each day when I offer to God the activities of that day. Within the framework of the seven days of the week I start the week praying for Jerry and me and our various needs. And then focusing on our children and their families from oldest to youngest, I go down the week, each family having a prayer day. Saturdays are for friends and universal needs. Of course I am not rigid about this schedule if these is a special need that requires more frequent prayer attention.
I was raised in the Catholic Church. Though I have been affected by the scandals that have plagued the church, and have been turned off by, and don’t agree with various church doctrines, I still feel that the Catholic Church is my church home. At one time I felt the Catholic Church provided the only pathway to heaven. I don’t feel that way any more . Each of us must find our own spiritual pathway.
There are many meaningful quotes on health. one that particularly resonates with me is by Robert Urich: ” A healthy outside starts from the inside.”