Adriana Diniz Campos
For a long time, Spiritist workers were made up of middle-aged people around 40, 50 and 60 years old. Currently, we find in Spirit Centers people from all age groups: children, youth, adults, and elderly. Spiritist Centers are increasingly fulfilling their role of disseminating Spiritist teachings and welcoming families. However, the elderly, due to a longer life expectancy and the advances in science and medicine, are having the opportunity of a prolonged incarnation.
Facing the current scenario, we wonder: Are Spiritist Centers and families prepared to properly welcome this new demand and needs?
Before answering the question, we have to consider that as we get older, we naturally lose the vital fluid. The body weakens and as time goes by, the stairs, the small step, the hallway, and even the chair in the lecture room starts to present some discomfort. Everything becomes an obstacle, but the spirit is the same, and it needs care and attention. We need to understand that old age represents only a temporary stage in the progress of the Spirit.
Emmanuel tells us that, “There are no young or old people, but souls that are young in reasoning or deeply enriched in the field of human experiences” (Emmanuel, psychography by Francisco Candido Xavier, book “Words from Emmanuel”).
If an old person is no longer able to stand in the Healing Passe Room, let him sit with some support. If his body no longer allows him to practice mediumship, give him the opportunity to teach and give lectures, and so on. The secret is never to become idle.
Unfortunately, the lack of affection and attention, the feeling of invisibility and abandonment, according to OMS research, released by the Latin American Center for the Study of Violence and Health, have led many elderly to commit direct suicide (high suicide rate after the age of seventy), or to refuse to live, waiting melancholically for death.
How are we welcoming our elders in our homes and Spiritist Centers? How is their inclusion in the activities of Spiritist Centers? Are we providing them the accomplishment of tasks compatible with their ages?
It is worth recalling the passage of the Gospel in which Simon the Zealot expresses concern about old age to Jesus, and the Nazarene Teacher explains, “Truly, Simon, to be young or old in the world does not matter! Above all, it is necessary to belong to God “ (Humberto Campos – spirit – in Good News, chapter 9, page 67).
We clearly witness the exclusion of the elderly in our society on a daily basis, since an “old” person is associated with a sick, weak, incapable, useless human being who does not have feelings, pleasure, and desires, which result in exclusion. This also occurs within families.
Old age often becomes atonement when the elderly feel out of their natural habitat. They look around and it seems as if they are living in another world where they no longer have their friends since so many have returned to the spiritual realm. For many, old age is a synonym of dependence, mainly on family members who ignore their will, wishes or plans, not taking into consideration that old people are human beings with desires, feelings, and the free will to choose what they want, having the right to continue to be the protagonist of their story until the end of life.
It is our duty, as a family, to support the elderly by guaranteeing them the right to live with dignity – a dignity that can be provided only by offering moments of listening to our elders, respecting their wishes, including them in the conversations at family dinner or gatherings. We are not living with the elderly by chance. Everyone has, at every moment, the opportunity to learn – we teach and we learn.
May we reflect on this theme and always be attentive to provide our brothers and sisters on the journey with better quality of life until they leave the material world.
So be it and thank you, God.
Original text in Portuguese
English translation by Bernadete F. Leal
Livro Palavras de Emmanuel. Emmanuel/Francisco Candido Xavier
Pesquisa OMS. Centro Latino Americano de Estudo sobre Violência e Saúde
Livro Boa Nova, Cap.9, pg 67. Humberto Campos/ Francisco Candido Xavier