It’s probably no surprise that most of the elders endorsed the idea that faith and spirituality are important to a happy life. But there was a very wide diversity of beliefs. Some people were involved in mainstream religions, whereas others had developed their own spiritual perspectives.
Marie, 92, was married for nearly 70 years. Over the years, they provided a home to many foster children, and her work as a teacher allowed her to help many students over the years. Raised a Methodist, she has moved away formal religious participation. But she also recommended spiritual beliefs that help make sense of the universe:
It’s very important. There’s a vast difference between spirituality and religion. I feel that I have a very close relationship with the total power of the universe, that we give the name God, because we don’t know what else to call it. And I feel that it’s very important to maintain that connection to the universe, to the total power. And that little flake, the little tiny bit of the power that is within each of us, that is light, is a real connection.
It’s a bit strange, I had never heard anybody else explain the feeling of the total universe as I see it. The stream of eternity, no beginning, no end, flows on. And that is the sum total of all power. And every now and then a little flake of that power breaks off and goes into a vehicle like us. And as it travels along this highway, this detour, there are potholes, hills to climb, decisions to make, go this way or that way, and eventually the vehicle wears out and the little spark returns to the highway. So I’m continually seeking to be in harmony with that power. You know that when you feel good inside yourself about what’s happening. And when things are falling in place for you.