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Written by Richard Griffin   
Saturday, October 03 2009 09:50

Great spiritual traditions have always taught the same message: there can be no foolproof security on earth. At this point in history no one needs to be convinced of this fact. What we do need is light on how to live in an insecure world. We want to know how to adjust to a new situation marked by threats that cannot be identified in advance.

In some ways we elders have an advantage. Many of us have become used to living with vulnerability. Disabilities have made us aware that it might not take much to do us in. We realize that a simple fall on the floor of our kitchen might be enough to start in motion a chain of events that could result in our becoming physically incapacitated.

Years of coping with physical problems that cannot be healed have accustomed us to coping. Reverses in health that seemed in prospect devastating have become familiar companions. We have learned to make the best of situations that continue to be uncomfortable and threatening.

This experience may have taught us to be more patient with ourselves and more compassionate toward other people. Paradoxically enough, a new wholeness may have emerged from our brokenness and an unexpected peace or soul from our suffering. We may have become veterans in the warfare against personal disintegration, emerging with suprprising victories of spirit.

Written for the newsletter Aging and the Human Spirit in response to the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001.