I talked with a group of Catholic university students yesterday. It reminded me of my own college years and I felt both young and old. Young – because I could identify with our common faith that formed our values. Old – because I realized that even though I’m healthy and bike or hike most days, my life experience has taken me places (physically and emotionally) that is still to come for them. We talked about:

Living a Simple Lifestyle: I realized that when I was in college my possessions could all fit in a dorm room and it seemed like enough. Now, after 10+ years of giving stuff away, I still have more stuff I should give away than would fit in that dorm room. I’ve accumulated more than I would have imagined as a 20 year old including books and toys belonging to our grown kids.

What kind of relationship we have with God: Although the students gathered because they were part of a faith community, I realized that my way of praying and understanding the nature of God has evolved dramatically from my college years. Although I pray, it seldom takes the form of traditional memorized prayers. Mostly I meditate, look around me and anticipate how I might recognize the Spirit of God in the people I might encounter during the day. I wonder how praying might change for the students as they age.

How to love people better: This includes becoming involved with social justice issues like feeding the hungry, tutoring low income children, welcoming immigrants, etc. But on a more difficult level how do we love our “enemies” – those we disagree with in this world divided by politics and even religion. How do we let go of guilt and love ourselves when we become aware of our failings.

How do we love Planet Earth: We didn’t have time to do justice to this topic, but one person was aware of my weekly ECO-TIPS and asked about them. This reminded me that not only my body is aging but this land that I call home is also aging. In my youth I didn’t think much about dying and I took the existence of Planet Earth for granted. Now, with global warming my spirit is more aware that my children’s or grandchildren’s generations may not be able to support life as we know it. It may look like the moon, or Mars, or whatever.

It’s sobering to talk seriously with folks of another generation. It continues to call me back to the question I ask myself each day – What is mine to do? Today, tomorrow, with the rest of my life? Is it to:
__Write more ECO-TIPS?
__Continue to make my lifestyle simpler and more environmentally sustainable?
__Get more involved in systemic change?
YES! Some or all of the above. Check the answer that’s right for you. This is a test, sort of. Let me know your answers.