Life’s long and winding roads will lead us to unexpected destinations. On our journey, we encounter challenges and adversity that make us stronger. As we grow older, the more we realize we might not have the answers to life’s biggest questions. The communal and spiritual gathering of people can provide a solace and companionship for seniors and those going through a life transition.
The Communal Aspect of Gathering
People do not experience life and suffering in a vacuum. Everybody experiences personal and societal tragedies and pain. Meeting and coming together with others is a beneficial way to cope with our most trying times and deepest questions. The very act of coming together and participating in ritual and exchange of prayers or ideas has shown to provide people with a spiritual fulfilment not achievable anywhere else.
Church and Health
In addition to building new relationships and community, attending church has been shown to have considerable health benefits. According to CDC research as reported in The Jesuit Review, there is a correlation between lower stress levels and longevity. People that attended church regularly demonstrated lower chances of premature death. This might be because churches tend to provide a structure and can encourage people to lead healthier lifestyles; in fact, many senior churchgoers get together to do exercises together (and there are many that seniors can comfortably do indoors!). Live Science has also reported that other health benefits from attending church can include lower blood pressure.
A Guiding Message
For seniors who find themselves isolated or going through a transitionary period in their lives, church provides a message of transcendence and hope. It helps increase mindfulness and tranquility. One way churches help people find strength is allowing them to see the world through a different light. Instead of avoiding suffering, for example, the church teaches people to accept, learn, and grow from it. Adopting this hopeful view will aid in changing perspective and increasing peace of mind and happiness.
Living in the Present
A sense of profound acceptance helps people live in the moment and enjoy the life in front of them instead of worrying about the past. Letting go of regret and admitting one’s flaws is a big part of moving forward and embracing the present. This is important for senior citizens as they come to understand the journey of their lives. Whether they are coping with the death of a spouse, a child, a life-long friend, dealing with an illness, or reconciling past mistakes and lifestyle choices, the church provides the spiritual fortitude to move on. As The Huffington Post writes, the church provides the spiritual fix that so many people seek.
Regardless of faith, believing and adopting the church’s message of hope will yield only positive results. During life’s most trying and difficult times, we have to remember that we are not alone and that life is a blessing; with all of its challenges and tribulations, we are all here experiencing the greatness of existence and learning from it every day.