In spite of my age,
I have not lost my zest for life.
I do not think the answer lies simply
in my physical health
or in something unique about
living in Northern Michigan in the Summer
and Arizona in the Winter.
I think it has to do with my attitude toward life
and in no small measure to
my ministry to the bereaved and their caregivers
and to the fact I can write.
My ministry and my writing
prevent me from getting old.
I cannot dream of retiring.
Not now or ever.
The word is alien and the idea inconceivable to me.
I don’t believe in total retirement for anyone,
not while the spirit is alive within.
My ministry and my writing is my life.
I cannot think of one without the other.
means to me to begin to die.
One who works
and is never bored
is never old.
Work and interest in worthwhile things
are the best remedy for age.
Each day I am reborn.
Each day I begin again,
I do not think a day passes in my life
in which I fail to look with fresh amazement
at the miracle of nature.
It is here on every side of me.
It can be simply a shadow on an Arizona mountainside,
or a spider’s web gleaming with dew
or sunlight on the leaves of a tree in Northern Michigan
I especially love Torch Lake.
How mysterious and beautiful it is.
How infinitely variable!
It is never the same,
not from one moment to the next,
always in the process of change,
always becoming something different and new.
I see no particular merit in the fact that
I can help others and can write.
I was born with an ability,
that is all.
No special credit is due me.
The only credit I can claim
is for the use I make of the talent I have been given.
I avoid any vanity because I happen to have talent.
I am not responsible for that;
it was not of my doing.
What I do with my gifts is what matters.
Each and every day I cherish my gifts,
I try not to waste what I have been given.
Of course the gift to be cherished most of all
is the gift of life itself.
I pray my work
is a salute to life.