Joan Chittister, one of our most celebrated spiritual writers, invites us to embrace older age as a natural part of life that is both active and contemplative, productive and reflective, and deeply rewarding. She encourages us to cherish the blessings of aging and to overcome its challenges, and shows us that this is a special period of life — maybe the most special of them all. Older age gives us wisdom, freedom, and prosperity of another kind. Older age enlightens — not simply ourselves, but also those around us. To live these years well, we need to look at every one of them head up and alive. Life is not about the length of years we manage to eke out of it. It is about living into the values offered every day, about growing older with grace.
The Gift of Years reflects on many aspects of aging, the purpose and concerns, the struggles and surprises, the potential and joys. It is a panoply of central issues that emerge with age to bring us to the fullness of life. And perhaps the most important dimension of older age, Joan Chittister illuminates, is to become aware of its profound purpose: These are the capstone years, the time in which a whole new life is in the making again. The gift of these years is not merely being alive, it is the gift of becoming more fully alive than ever.