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Rich in years: Finding peace and purpose in a long life – Johann Christoph Arnold

Johann Christoph Arnold

Rich in Years: Finding peace and purpose in a long life

ISBN: 9780 8748 6898 2

The Plough Publishing House, Croydon, 2013, £8.

I found this an excellent book. It is well written, in an easy to read style. There is much wisdom and good practical advice in these pages, not just for older people, but also for those who care for them and about them. The book is divided into two sections: first, making suggestions about how older people can feel fulfilled; second, wise advice in a practical and spiritual way for those approaching the final stages of life.

Johann Christoph Arnold is now in his seventies, so he is speaking from personal experience. He suggests that some of the things that can drag down an older person’s quality of life are sickness, loneliness, losing friends and regrets about the past. He is also adamant that older people can find real fulfilment in their later years. He gives us some clues. It is important to develop a spirit of thanksgiving, giving thanks for what has been good in our lives rather than focusing on what might have been: practising forgiveness rather than holding grudges (this is key, Johann says, if we want to find peace); growing in our relationship with God; spending time in prayer; and focussing on others more than on ourselves. Johann believes that if we live for service and also practise forgiveness, then spiritually we will be ready for God’s appointed time.

‘Rich in Years’ would be a very good gift to give to older people. It would also be a very helpful book for any who have pastoral care or concern for those in advancing years.

David Jardine SSF