For all the ink spilled about America's aging population, there's a dearth of books which deal in a sensitive, intelligent way with the spiritual and emotional difficulties faced by old people. Childrearing, marriage, divorce and everyday spirituality are frequently written about, but the last years of life--when one might think people would need to draw upon their spiritual resources more than ever--are often ignored altogether. Sallirae Henderson, a counselor and minister, has done a great service by writing "A Life Complete," based on her experiences working with aging people.

Henderson's argument is that how one grows old and faces death reflects the choices one has made about one's life. The deep "self-exploration" which age forces upon us is what's so frightening about it. As Henderson puts it, "when we are old, we are more ourselves than we have ever been before," meaning that it can be difficult and painful to think honestly about our lives, let alone change them. This rich book will be welcomed by senior citizens. It might even be of interest to the young, for its fearless invocation to "know thyself" is an inspiration--and a challenge--at any age.

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