I had the opportunity to review Rich in Years: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Long Life and because I had read another book about a Christian community (Emma of Aurora), I decided that this might be an interesting book. I didn’t know it was about aging and getting older.
Johann Christoph Arnold is a noted speaker and writer on marriage, parenting, and end-of-life issues, as well as a senior pastor of the Bruderhof, a movement of Christian communities.
The book’s forward is written by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Catholic Archbishop of Boston. The Catholic Church and the Bruderhof have a longstanding friendship.
Pastor Arnold tells of his life with his wife, Verena, and how life changes with aging. He shares stories of his friends and challenges that they have faced or are currently facing.
As the book progresses, each chapter touches a new subject of the aging process. He begins with growing older and accepting the changes, moves on to combating loneliness and finding purpose. He speaks of illness and of dying and finding peace through forgiveness and reconciliation as we say goodbye to those we love. Finally, of beginning anew in Heaven with our Lord.
While many assume that the aging process is a depressing topic, I assure you that Pastor Arnold tells us otherwise. I found encouragement as my parents, my husband, and I grow older.
I found Rich in Years: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Long Life to be a guide of sorts as my parents and in-laws age and as we age. I strongly encourage even younger people to read it to understand that death does not have to have the last word in our lives. At 161 pages, it is not a long book nor is it a difficult read. Pastor Arnold’s writing is enjoyable and warm.
I have a new appreciation for the death of my physical body. I’m not afraid to die, because I know where I’m going. I found many poignant quotes and I’ve posted one below to encourage you.