Gift of years
Gift of Years
Joan Chittister
book review

The Gift of Years - Joan Chittister

A book review of Joan Chittister's book about 'Growing Older Gracefully'

I was drawn to "The Gift of Years" as I looked into the role of Anna Chaplains amongst older people . However, as I read, I was challenged to think about not only the process of aging, but about my attitude to life itself.

Indeed, if there is one thing I feel that I have learned from reading this book, it's that the preparation for living the later years of life well starts now. My attitudes, goals, priorities and values now will shape how I perceive and adjust to aging. For example, in her chapter on 'Regret' Chittister writes that "regret is not insight. It is, in fact, the sand trap of the soul." My hope and prayer is that I practise aiming away from this bunker of dissatisfaction now, so that when I need it most, my hands on the golf club are proficient and confident.

The book is beautifully written: lyrically and deftly blowing the dust off truth, allowing the gold to glint through. The first half of the book I found uplifting and challenging. As I read through the rest of the book I found the increasing specificity a little harder to relate to and I also felt that Chittister slightly shied away from the significant issue of physical decline. I have seen lives lived beautifully, in spite of very significant physical incapacity, and this is an area I would have liked Chittister to have explored further.

Nevertheless, I would recommend this book, especially the first half, to anyone interested in the insights which aging and awareness of death bring to our understanding of life.

Anna Heydon, Imagine Norfolk Together, Great Yarmouth