chapter  1
20 Pages

Understanding Spiritual Resiliency and Aging

Wilhelm is an 80-year-old German physician spending his last years quietly

in an old university town (see Table A.1 for details on the study participants).

His lifestyle contrasts sharply with popular images of successful retirement-a

modest home, a preference for reading, music, and conversation. This thoughtful

man does not mention golf, travel, or his financial portfolio. As his wife prepares

coffee, he greets his visitors warmly, gazing off into a past that only he can see.

“I am a witness of time,” he says. He sees many things, in fact: World War II,

the Communist occupation of East Germany, and above all, the intersection of

his medical vocation and faith.