Several generations ago, a woman got married in her early 20s, had children immediately, and by the time she was finished having children, she was well on the way to being a grandmother. And life was shorter. Today, most of us can hope to enjoy many years when our focus shifts back to our own goals and purposes, much as it did in our 20s. Questions of meaning and purpose again present themselves. At the same time, we have acquired the wisdom of years, and some of us long to have that recognized and celebrated within our communities. Other important events characterize this time of life: our bodies change, some of us become grandparents, some of us retire from long-established careers, and at some point we may move out of our homes and downsize, or even move in with children or into a facility. All of these changes present opportunities for ritual.
Like the liturgists of old, Arlin’s work troubles us where we are too comfortable and comforts us when we are troubled
Ritual helps us pay attention. From the joy of a recovery to the grief of a funeral, ritual helps us inhabit the breadth of human experience.