Live longer and healthier lives by Lou Marrapodi

•© GLOW IMAGES •models are used for illustrative purposes Hiker in Sequoia National Park

• models are used for illustrative purposes
Hiker in Sequoia National Park

Don’t we all yearn to live long, eventful and joy-filled lives?  Common thinking proposes that our capacities diminish as we get beyond a certain age. Is there evidence available to illustrate that time doesn’t have to cause weakness, deterioration, or disability.  The Bible tells us that “Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters” (See Genesis 5: 22).  Is healthful longevity possible for us today?

What about the giant Sequoia trees in California living and prospering on earth today?  They live substantially longer than Enoch and yet maintain their stature, beauty, strength and growth.  What can we learn from these trees?  – How do they overcome the common challenges of aging?

Each tree is quickly established and grows in its individual niche.  While Sequoias sit shallow in the soil, each tree has deep roots that seek out scarce nutrients and intertwine with nearby trees.  The roots of each tree provide nourishment to that individual tree and also provide a firm foundation and a mutually supportive base for itself and other trees.  The Sequoias don’t grow or sustain themselves but respond to nature’s provision for them.   In this way, these beautiful trees grow hundreds of feet tall, remain strong and live for centuries.

The Sequoias’ thick bark does not contain the flammable resin of other trees and naturally resists adversaries – as fire or diseases.  Recently after being critically challenged from a colleague at work over a new policy we were implementing, I resisted my initial inclination to resent the individual “push back”.  Instead I found common ground which provided a firm foundation that helped me to explain the purpose for the new policy and responded in a rational, helpful way.  Instead of feeling “burned” from the encounter, I was invigorated and at peace.

Like Jesus, the Master Christian, we also can pray to God for direction and a full understanding of our life purpose.  We don’t have to give in to the common conception that our activities must diminish with age.  Jesus pointed out man’s importance to God when, in Luke, he said “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God”.

Several years ago my son and I hiked over 22 miles over rough terrain in the Grand

Matt and Lou at the Grand Canyon

Matt and Lou at the Grand Canyon

Canyon in a single day (South Kaibab trail down; Bright Angel trail back).  As we reached the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon, my knee became suddenly painful from the downward jarring hike.  As we still had a 10 mile uphill climb to get back, I continuously reflected on God’s presence that had created the beauty and peace all around us – to ward off the natural temptation to be fearful.

“Whatever it is your duty to do, you can do without harm to yourself,” Mary Baker Eddy says in her best selling book, Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures.

My son graciously carried my backpack of food and water.  Responsibly and reliably, through this continuous prayer, I was able to walk and we reached the summit of the canyon by nightfall.  In a subsequent 12 mile hike into the Grand Canyon in a single day (Bright Angel Trail to Plateau point and back), I carried my own food and water down and back and had no knee problems.

Just as the Sequoias don’t give up and continue to be supportive of one another in their continued growth; Jesus didn’t give in to adversity but showed us how to be supportive of another, you can continue to know and respond to that Higher Power that sustains you, and helps you learn, grow, and thrive.   Like the mighty Sequoia trees, we can expect to live long, prosperous, and happy lives.

Lou Marrapodi, a member of Kate’s blog team, lives in Forest Hill, Maryland, where he and his wife raised two sons who are now grown. Lou is a controller for a company that manufactures engineered materials for the aero-space industry and a Certified Public Accountant.  He enjoys ice skating, roller skating, long distance bicycle riding, and hiking in the Grand Canyon.