Starting Point
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Issue Date:  May 26, 2006

Starting Point


I recently gave each of my two nieces a vintage wristwatch. This was a strange gift to give because the watches no longer worked and hadn’t for more than two decades. All this time, they had nestled in my jewelry box -- mementos from my mother who had passed on in 1985. My nieces were very young when Mom died and since both had been close to her, I wanted them to have the watches.

I’ve begun giving a number of my treasures away. Having reached the second half stage in life, I no longer need the attachment to things as keepsakes. It is time to pass them on. Some of these items included the little wicker rocking chair from my childhood, my “Gone With the Wind” and “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” movies and a white china tea set.

Like the stopped watches, I am in the season where one no longer has the inner workings and rhythm for marking and paying attention to the passages of time in the way one used to. It is quite an interesting shift to experience oneself winding down like a well-used watch, keeping pace with a new rhythm of the soul. Within this heightened awareness comes a deepened joy for living and sense of well-being that evolves through faith and the fullness of time.

The science and study of timekeeping is called horology. In the fine art of watchmaking, “movement” refers to the precise system of intricate gears and springs that use mechanical energy to calculate the passage of time.

In the spiritual realm, keeping soul time through winding down is about becoming energized by the life of the spirit in a new way. Scripture tells numerous stories of men and women who performed their greatest works of love and service in the winding-down season of their lives. Just as they were moved by the word of God, so too are we called to the same creative animation that has nothing to do with age or limitations and everything to do with the grand, divine “movement” within.

Joni Woelfel’s latest book is A Party of One, Resurrection Press.

National Catholic Reporter, May 26, 2006

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