The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

By Eric C. Alm
Weyerts Immanuel Lutheran Church 

In a changing world, we get happier as we grow older

 


When I graduated from college, it seemed like the world was my oyster.

The economy was strong, I had a good degree from a good school and was not yet burdened by the numerous concerns that living brings.

I was able to get a decent (read: $7.50/hour) job at United Way in Minneapolis for a while, and then a better (read: $10/hour) job at the University of Minnesota Hospital simply on the fact I could type 70 words a minute. That was pretty fast then.

The world has certainly changed in these last years. Jobs for grads now seem to be in very short supply. Rare is the recent grad with a job offer on the day they receive their sheepskin.

Furthermore, the world into which they are launching themselves has become increasingly uncertain and risky.

I’ve heard it said that the time of greatest change and uncertainty in life is not during these years of early adulthood, but after one turns 65. The greatest life changes come then. Our bodies begin to fail. Support networks begin to dwindle. Children and family are grown, often with children of their own, and no longer have the time they once did.

And yet a recent study showed that happiness tends to increase with age. We seem to get happier as we get older.

Are you happier, more content now, than you were when you were 20? If you are under 30, how do you imagine yourself at age 70? If you are under 60, what would you anticipate your 80s to be like? Or 90s?

Faith often comes to have greater and greater importance in our lives as we get older. As we mature, we see how much in life and living is truly, utterly, and completely out of our hands. Our ability to entrust ourselves into God’s grace deepens and expands.

We become happier because we learn how to lose ourselves in God. This marks a time of tremendous growth as we come to live less out of ourselves and more out of God.

This growth is celebrated in the church year as the season of Sundays after Pentecost. It is a time when the entire church grows in its ability to live into God’s promises. It’s the time of the year we hear about the challenges, struggles, and joys of discipleship.

It’s the time when God challenges us to see our lives in context. That we are not defined or even made by what we earn or what we do. Our well-being is not determined by the changing circumstances of our lives. That we, yet older every day, are still perpetually young in Christ.

We are who God calls us to be: his children, all of our lives.

Eric Alm

Parish of the Plains /

Weyerts Immanuel Lutheran Church

 

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