The wisdom of a deeper longing as we get older


Fred Cavaiani

What is your deepest longing in life? Many people will answer this question with the statement: “I want to be happy.” When I ask for a further clarification of this answer many people will say, “I want to be financially comfortable.” Another common answer is “I want to feel loved.” What I have noticed with people who are 60 and older is that a desire for a deeper connection with God becomes stronger. Getting to be a senior citizen increases a person’s desire for something that is lasting and brings a deeper meaning to their life. It is no accident that many Churches are often filled with older people.

Older people begin to realize the shortness of life. And when we realize how short life is because so many relatives and friends have died, the challenge to look at life in a deeper manner becomes more familiar. There are fewer distractions as we get older. We have had our failures and successes, our pains and joys. There are less years or days ahead of us than there are behind us. Hanging on to resentments and grudges does not bring us peace or joy. The longing to feel loved becomes deeper and the longing for a positive experience of God keeps surfacing. There are more quiet days for older people. In these quiet moments older people begin to pay more attention to deeper longings. In these deeper longings the desire for a profound experience of God surfaces. 

The unfinished business of life keeps rising. Mistakes can be admitted. Joys can be deeply felt. What is most important in life seems to surface in the present moment. The importance of being loving and kind to everyone becomes even more primary. Finding meaning in silence gets deeper. The uselessness of judging and condemning others for their viewpoints becomes clearer. The need to invest in changing other people in our thoughts and actions is recognized as an emotionally and spiritual bad investment. When I pay attention to all these feelings with a healthier awareness, I start experiencing an internal freedom. Older people start realizing the importance of kindness toward others. Those who block this awareness become crabby and unhappy. Those who recognize this importance of love and kindness pour love and joy into other people. 

When I listen to these deepest longings in my senior years, I find myself taking more time to be quiet, meditate and experience God. I also find myself realizing that God is always loving and never condemning. I realize that this profound longing for God, which has always been there since I was a little kid. was often minimized and avoided. Now that I am older, I am challenged to pay more attention to this longing. This attentiveness brings me much peace and simplifies my life in a loving, positive manner. I sometimes want to be critical of myself for not realizing this many years ago. But now I can realize that life is always a journey into the present moment. Lingering over my past mistakes becomes a distraction from a positive experience of this present moment where I can experience God in everything and everyone. I do not have to regret getting older because each moment now becomes a deeper journey into God. 

The other day I met with an old friend whom I have not seen for a long time. It was so inspiring to talk with him and listen to his positive experiences about his awareness of a loving God in his life. His kindness and compassion were so inspiring and his embrace of life and the present moment was such an inspiration.

The wisdom of getting older can become such a gift. But I must pay attention to these deeper longings and feelings. There is no reason to rush through life. Getting older can help a person to realize that it is not the past moment that brings happiness or the next moment. It becomes a gentle, reflective embrace of the present moment that brings the peace and love of God into my life. 

The wisdom of becoming a senior citizen is to listen to these inner longings and stay in the present moment. It is where I experience God. It is where I find peace. It is where I learn the importance to be aways loving and not be concerned how the world should change or how other people should change. My only concern is how I should change in this present moment to experience God deeper and be more loving to everyone. So simple. So peaceful. So gentle. And getting older is a journey for everyone. We just need to pay attention to these inspirations to go deeper.


Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts numerous programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. His column in the Legal News runs every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is: and his website is

Subscribe to the Legal News!
Full access to public notices, articles, columns, archives, statistics, calendar and more
Day Pass Only $4.95!
One-County $80/year
Three-County & Full Pass also available