Still bearing fruit when they are old

The end of life is approaching, it’s a reality I can’t escape. I’m trying to adapt to it…” Still bearing fruit when they are old” says the psalm.  I hope so! I take advantage and enjoy everything life offers me day by day. I’ve never felt as happy as I do right now, despite my limitations. Why is that? I don’t know! I’ve got all the time in the world and I’m living it differently: the value of time is different. I’m no longer at work or needed for some service, so I live life more freely, enjoying things more, simply living what comes my way.

This time helps me discover the true meaning and value of our life, based on being and not doing. Life is worth living to the end. The good care I receive to make life pleasanter and easier delights my heart with joy and hope, not only for me but for all of us. I see the hand of God accompanying me with tenderness. What a joy it is to experience all this! How can I not give thanks?  

I enjoy being able to do a bit of gardening, in my own way, for the pleasure and glory of God. I have a small plot, where I grow flowers that bring me joy and speak to me of God, his mystery and beauty.

What’s more, I’m experiencing a profound change in my fraternity, which is certainly not without importance and influence on me. Le Tubet [our mother house in Aix-en-Provence] is being transformed, renovated, adapted to our advancing age.  A new style of life, in view of the years to come, is settling in and taking shape. I live it fully, deeply, within myself. Hopeful life-bearing seedlings are starting to appear. All these changes are far-reaching and help me to live, at my own level, what I personally have to live too: my old age with its restrictions, learning to let go and know how to make room… Sometimes a feeling of uselessness, of dependence can sadden me.

We have outsiders who come to work with us and friends who help out. They’re all happy to come, and for some we even become a bit like family. There’s a lot of life and relationships between us, and I feel like I’m living at the heart of the world. We are little sisters returning from many countries around the globe, most of us having lived there for more than 50 years, participating in the foundations of the fraternities. I live, I’d almost say, on a global scale, both within the community and with the people around us who are from all over the world. 

I live this stage of old age, or at least I try to, as a time of conversion, in continual becoming. Rediscovering the core of what it is to be a little sister, offering myself to Jesus with all the love in my heart, praying to Him that everything might become prayer, interceding for the world, ceaselessly… A time to review my past and present life, humbly placing it before Him, with a little more distance. A time to live out the forgiveness that hasn’t been given or accepted, to implore His mercy… A time of formation, taking advantage of readings and encounters… A time to know how to give thanks for so many values in life that amaze me. Sometimes I have to dig and search to find the precious pearls that are hidden, buried and damaged, but there they are, seeds of life so beautiful and diverse, capable of “telling me God” in all His plurality. Anne-Augusta