Susan Jacoby is an important truth teller. Her book's core idea is that old age is real, inescapable and often dreadful—despite society's illusions.
In 1983, Kenneth Mitchell and Herbert Anderson wrote that "death is only one form of loss." This would have been unthinkable for Christians half a century earlier.
When I became a student pastor I had no idea what I was getting into. The first thing that happened after we moved into the tiny parsonage was that Johnny Johnson died.
She is foggy, struggling to find the old gifts of conversation. But she knows me, I think. I tell her all of the reassuring things that pastors say in such a setting. "The Creator who has watched over you all of the days of your life is now holding you in those sacred hands." She smiles and struggles to respond with words I barely understand.
Our teacher cautions us that the corpse pose is the most difficult of all yoga postures to master, but after an hour’s exertion in warrior pose, downward-facing dog and cobra, the prospect of relaxing horizontally on one’s yoga mat brings both relief and the impertinent question, “How hard can it be?” Fascinated, I report to my husband, “Every day at the conclusion of yoga class we practice dying.” “That’s interesting,” he says, trying to share my enthusiasm. “It’s kind of like Lent,” I venture. "Lent is when we’re supposed to practice dying, right?”