Gathered Wisdom

August 3, 2021

A weekly curated collection of essays, poetry, and reflections for your spiritual journey.  From The Wisdom Years.

Not an Option

Surrender is not an option. I cannot imagine giving up my faith In the real presence of a loving Sprit who is with us on this long walk we call life. I know goodness is there, kindness is there, compassion is there, no matter how final the triumph of fear may seem nor how great the power that holds the  human heart down. I will not abandon my belief in the coming dawn just because I dwell in the midnight hour. All the more reason to proclaim hope when hope is scarce among the waiting crowd. All the more reason to keep singing, to keep working, and to keep helping the wounded to walk. Surrender is not an option – not for those of use who have seen the light to come. – from Bishop Steven Charleston. Bishop Charleston is a Native American elder who also serves as a bishop in The Episcopal Church. This selection is from his book Ladder to the Light (Broadleaf Books, 2021). 

This week:

  • An amazing video of children coming together to sing “We Are the World”
  • Why are we afraid of solitude? – words from Richard Foster
  • How do you hear God? – listening like Samuel did
  • New on our website – we’ve added some pages

From the mouths of . . .

All 500 students from Clarksville Elementary School in Indiana worked with their music teacher over the course of the pandemic school year to create this heartwarming music video to showcase their talents and to bring smiles to the world. The exuberance and enthusiasm of these young singers remind us that they are the world, they are the future, and we can all make a better day when we stand together as one. Watch the video.  From Daily Good.

Facing the Fear of Solitude

Richard Foster

Why are we so afraid of solitude? Is it that we might find ourselves wanting in the company of God? Or do we believe the world really can’t get along with us, even for a short time? Richard Foster, author of Celebration of Discipline and founder of Renovare, offers thoughts about solitude along with several short practices for entering into it.  Read the essay. From Renovare.

Listening to God

Brother David Vryhof

“The voice of God is a persistent voice; it’s a voice that comes to us not just once (lest we should miss it) but again and again, until at last we are ready to grasp its meaning and respond to its call. So often, when we finally arrive at a place of clarity, we recognize that this call has not come to us in an instant, but has been gradually growing inside us and has finally come to its fullness.” Brother David looks at the call of Samuel as a way we might really (yes, really) hear the voice of God. 
Brother David is a member of the Society of St. John the Evangelist.
Read or listen to the entire essay. Learn more about SSJE. 

New from our website

Three new pages from The Wisdom Years website that offer wisdom for the spiritual journey in the last third of life. All include a reflection plus resources for your own investigation.

Becoming Elders – In her book The Grace in Aging, Kathleen Dowling Singh calls elders to be placeholders in society. “There is no more noble way to spend these years,” she says, “than to become an elder, to bear witness to the world as placeholders for peace, love, wisdom, and fearlessness” Read more.

Crossing Thresholds – Some thresholds are predictable and even chosen; others are thrust upon us – retirement, end of a marriage, loss of a relationship. All invite us to stop and consider rather than rush through the time of change. Read more.

Passing on the Blessing – Old Elizabeth can speak to young Mary about that which Elizabeth has witnessed over her long life: that God will reveal God’s self in the communion of two people coming together seeking God’s blessing. Read more.

Gathered Wisdom is an offering of The Wisdom Years, a ministry devoted to the spiritual journey of the last third of our lives. Sign up to subscribe to Gathered Wisdom at Learn more about us at The Wisdom Years. Or send an email to Marjorie George at

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