How Attending Church Boosts Health as We Age by Jason Lewis

Many things change in our lives as we age, but one thing that never changes is the need to

have community, connection, and a sense of peace. These needs are essential for good health,

especially as we get older. Attending church regularly can help meet all these needs and

improve your health, both physically and mentally.

Attending Church Keeps Us Connected

Loneliness and isolation are some of the biggest problems older adults face. Adult children may

have moved away, and the day-to-day activities and work from when you were younger no

longer keep you busy. When you don’t have these people and activities in your daily life, it’s

easy to fall into the trap of staying home. Going to church gives you a reason to get out of the

house at least weekly. Besides attending services, you can get involved in church ministries,

which is an ideal setting for forming strong bonds with other church members. Having this

connection does more than break up your day and provide social interaction. Being part of a

community means you have people in your life who are there for you, during good times and

bad. Church communities help older adults with all kinds of needs, from spiritual guidance to

having someone you can call upon for help or to simply share a meal with.

Attending Church Affects Your Outlook on Life

According to Today, a long-term study showed that women with cardiovascular disease or

cancer who attended church regularly lived longer than those with the same conditions who

didn’t attend church. This dramatic health outcome shows how physical health is connected to

mental and emotional health. The study participants who attended church and lived longer have

the comfort and mental stability from their faith. Prayer reduces anxiety and depression, and

churchgoers are generally happier overall. This positive mental health benefit probably comes

from having faith, which tends to focus your outlook on life toward a sense of optimism.

Attending church also forces us to take some time to stop worrying and doing, and instead,

simply be in the present moment. According to DrugRehab.org, “It can be difficult to make

ourselves focus on the here and now, especially if we’re going through a transition as lifechanging

as addiction recovery. But taking even a few minutes a day to be mindful of all we

have in the present moment—and especially all we have to be grateful for—can help us feel

more at peace with ourselves, our surroundings, and our circumstances.” When you attend

church, it’s an opportunity to practice mindfulness by leaving the outside world and focusing

your attention inward.

Attending Church Gives Life Meaning

One of the greatest joys you can get from attending church is through getting involved in

ministries. Older adults often feel like they’re no longer useful or don’t have much to contribute,

but that couldn’t be further from the truth! You have so much to give, and church provides those

opportunities. If you love children, you can volunteer to help in the nursery. If you enjoy flower

arranging, volunteer to put together the church flowers. Older adults can be a strong positive

influence on the younger church members too. Wherever your heart leads you, there is likely to

be a ministry opportunity there. Serving through church can keep you healthier as you age by

giving you a way to be active. The biggest benefits of serving, however, are to your mental

health. According to the Huffington Post, doing charitable activities lowers stress and helps you

keep a fresh perspective on your own life, leading to a greater feeling of gratitude.

We often focus mainly on our physical needs as we age, but caring for our emotional and

spiritual needs is just as important. Even if you haven’t been involved in church in the past, it’s

never too late to make the time for your own spiritual journey. The health benefits to your mind,

body, and spirit are limitless when you get involved and give back.

 

To contact Jason go to his website  

When Nature Walks

When Nature Walks 

by Eve Breen

When Nature Walks
Trees talk, they dance,
They wave their arms!
To say hello.
When Nature Walks
Plants and flowers,
Push up and up and up,
Through soil, rock and grass,
Until they come to full bloom.
When Nature Walks
Bugs creep,
Ants scatter,
Spiders crawl over all.
When Nature Walks
We breathe,
We listen to the silence,
We hear a voice,
Speaking through our own,
When Nature Walks

A Cross Country Ski Trip

Skiing the Back 40 by Marj Hughes as told to Naomi Kelly 

Marg and her friends went on a ski trip a couple of weeks ago on the woodlot of an old farm. Marg has been reading the book A Soul’s Pilgrim by Christine Valters Paintner and she was inspired by the idea of visio divina -taking a quite meditative walk with your camera and letting the scenery pop out at you. 

The trees caught her attention, standing so still and beautiful against the winter snow. Many things passed by them, but they stood rooted and grounded in one spot. As the world passed by, they did not move, they did not have to move, because they received all they needed from where they stood. They offered strength in their constancy. 

The first treethat caught her attention looked like its bark was decorated with celtic knots. Such a beautiful woven pattern - how did the bark come to be like this? What must have happened to cause it? The tree continued its life, constant in its watch. 

The next treehad a large burl. “These tumors result from abnormal wood growth due to injury, infection or bud malformation.” (from Bark by Michale Wojtech)  So many times we try and get over trauma - when the trauma may be one of our teachers. It’s how we react to the traumas of life that make something a blessing or a burden. The tree took on this infestation and decided to make it a part of itself, and in doing that it continued to grow and thrive.

Another tree, at one time, had a bard wire fence nailed into it. Fence can kill a tree, but the tree just grew a protective bark around the wound and kept growing. There is a scar, but the growth continues.  We are thankful for the messages that are told in the trees. They are constant and stable, they keep growing, using what would wound them and turning it into life. When we walk with the eyes of our hearts open, we receive what we need so that we can be constant in our faith journey.

Blessed Spring

Blessed Spring

by Joan Williamson

The ground is cold and nothing grows.

I await the blessed spring. Soon earth

awakes and changes show in every

living thing. 

The ground is cracking from beneath,

soon leaves stretch forth and shine.

The unforgiving winter yields its place

and springtime is divine.

Flowers romp, sweet winds cavort

and robins pace the grass looking 

for their breakfast there where 

rainbows sing and dance.

The sweetest breath of summer 

comes and soon warms the coldest 

heart. Cornfields toss their leaves 

in time and winds thrill with songs 

of larks.

Every facet of nature glows. Each 

aspect plays its part. The earth is 

humming its own tune and holds 

God’s gentle heart.

Soon autumn comes, the hoary 

frost breaks the back of things. 

Snowflakes fall, snow mountains

grow and winter now is king.

Each season stays in its own 

place and knows when to come 

and go. I await the spring again 

this year as I watch the seasons 

flow. 

Joan Williamson 

11/2009 

© 2013