In this book, writer-poet Luci Shaw has given us a lifetime of exquisite reflections on nature, love, death, suffering, loss, faith, doubt, creativity, curiosity, lifelong learning—all of it drawn from the breadth of her own experience, harvested in penetrating and lyrical insights. Still active in her eighties, Luci now turns her attention to the season of edging toward the borders. Her spirit of adventure, her brave transparency, and her openness to all that life offers (as well as inflicts) makes her a captivating and hope-inspiring mentor.
For most of us, growing older is a reality we put off as long as possible—until we realize with a shock that it is happening to us. We immediately look around to see how others on the path just ahead of us are dealing with it. So here is the intrepid Luci Shaw, taking readers on a virtual hike with her, with steps more deliberate and slow but also with surprising vistas that fill us with gratitude.
In this book Luci serves as a fearless and eloquent scout. As she traverses new territory, she records her experiences lovingly, honestly, sorrowfully, joyfully—here's what it's like, and here's what to be ready for. These field notes will inform your own journey, no matter what your age.
"Luci Shaw, poet and adventurer, scales the heights of the later years, grasping bramble after bramble. Yes, there are challenges. The closing decades of her lifelong journey provide tough moments, sudden and sometimes sharp-edged surprises. But Luci keeps her face turned to the beauty of Christ and shows us all how to climb, handsomely and with dignity. Wise, strengthening, playful and loving."
"At an age when many of her peers are simply marking time till death, Luci Shaw embodies what it means to be a fully flourishing human being. Her Adventure of Ascent, which calls to mind the best of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and Henri Nouwen, is spiritual confession at its finest."
"The veteran climber Luci Shaw spray paints vivid blazes on the trail for those of us who are coming behind her. What is old age? How does it look from the outside? How does it feel? As the path gets rockier, what advice can she offer? Watch. Luci's backpack is dwindling above us and her walking stick--the one she inherited from her father--flashes as she climbs. This is a fabulous guidebook, filled with stories, wisdom and humor about the steep path we ascend after sixty."
"I love this sage book."
"[Shaw] describing her own experiences and thoughts on a variety of subjects with similes and metaphors had me scrambling for my highlighter! She writes about things we all think about. That is what had me sometimes chuckling and sometimes nodding in agreement over subjects such as getting a massage, parenting our children, waiting for a diagnosis, and moving to smaller quarters. This volume is all about making transitions in life as we ascend to the next life. That is the journey that Luci Shaw so lovingly shares with her readers."
"Using the metaphor of a mountain climber leaving behind the trappings of human life and eventually her mortal coil, Shaw here finds profound beauty in her ascent toward a heavenly home."
"[Adventure of Ascent] is interesting as the testament of a sincere but far from naïve Christian. This should appeal to church reading groups and older readers."
"Using engaging, insightful, lyrical language, poet and octogenarian Shaw offers reflections on her life in a neatly gathered, extended metaphor about making a journey to the summit of the mountain of life. . . . Shaw doesn't pretend to have all the answers—questions about God and the search for meaning in life still persist—but she ponders them with a grace and faith that make the reader glad to be along for a portion of the journey."
"Shaw's humor, insight, and the honest wrestling with faith on her pilgrimage make this an enjoyable guide to this land that borders on the undiscovered country, to the journey that no one survives."
A Word to My Readers
1 The View from Now
2 Looking Ahead
3 Feasting on Distances
4 Fit for the Climb?
5 Dangers Ahead?
6 Finding Sure Footing
8 Above the Tree Line
9 Learning to Breathe
10 The View from the Slope
11 Lightening the Load
13 Mountain Pilgrimage
14 Incidents and Accidents
15 Course Corrections
16 Companions on the Way
17 The Grass Under our Feet
18 Experiencing Altitude