St. Mark’s Adult Education Meeting Summary
Finding Spirituality in Everyday Living
Discussion Led By The Rev. Dr. James Hanisian
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Dr. Hanisian is employed by the Episcopal Retirement Homes, which is a type of CCRC (Continuum of Care Retirement Community). That implies full service care is available: Independent living, assisted living, and nursing care. In the Dayton area, Canterbury Court is the type of housing that falls under Section 8 of HUD for seniors. The mission of the ministry of ERH is to provide spiritual growth, wellness, and a richening of lives. Parish Health Ministries are also a service provided that offer courses to trained medical professionals of local parishes to help them in providing wellness services to those in their congregations. We all need to be about growth. One problem experienced by many aging adults is that after a certain age, usually when after retirement from a life-long job and/or deterioration in health, they tend to quit and give up on living. From the ages of 35-55, people have reached their peak or perhaps have become empty nesters. Many times, if those people can get past the “mid-life crisis” period, they can soon discover there is meaning to life again. One philosophy of living is that each one of us should “die broke.” That is, we should plan to spend all of our resources right up to the very end. There should not be a retirement from living. We should always work, be it through volunteering, finding some type of less stressful employment, or attending classes again to re-educate oneself. Another good activity is to join an elder hostel, take courses at a university, or perhaps learn a new language. Dr. Hanisian defined spirituality as “the experience of God.” Many times people do not necessarily experience God while sitting in church, but experience God in the work they do or when helping others. There was the story of an ex-GI who helped his fellow soldiers find more meaningful work after World War II. The lesson learned was that each of us has certain skills and we should learn to use them and at the same time enjoy using them! Instead of going through life and being in a mode of either working, learning, or playing, we should be in a mode that combines all three! We get the most done and are the most satisfied when we are doing work that is both meaningful and fun! As we age, the world around us gets smaller and smaller. We must learn to search for God in our day-to-day life. Conversion in faith happen at the highest rate when people get fired or lose their jobs. And interestingly enough, it has been shown that homeless people and those who possess very few assets, are typically those who care the most about others. Everyone thanked Dr. Hanisian for his uplifting presentation.