Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Fly While You Still Have Wings: And Other Lessons My Resilient Mother Taught Me

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Fly While You Still Have Wings: And Other Lessons My Resilient Mother Taught Me

Article excerpt

Fly While You Still Have Wings: And Other Lessons My Resilient Mother Taught Me. By Joyce Rupp. Notre Dame, Ind.: Sorin Books, 2015. ix + 203 pp. $16.95 (paper).

Joyce Rupp's book, Fly While You Still Have Wings, is her personal, candid account of living with her aging mother. Joyce's life is reflected through the lessons that Hilda Rupp taught her in her ninety-four years of life. It is a compelling book that stirs the reader to consider their own journey with ageism, whether it is parents, partners, or oneself. "It is my hope that what I learned from my mother in her aging and dying process will benefit others, both those entering their later years and those who accompany or care for them" (p. xvii).

Joyce chooses experiences and sharing stories of her mother to bring forth the life lessons she has benefited from in her own life. She helps the reader understand the time and generation her mother grew up in, one of eleven children who survived the death of her own mother and raised most of her siblings on a struggling farm during the Great Depression. Hilda Rupp's formative years were the foundation of the life lessons Joyce writes about, saying, "Mom's resilient spirit led her to look at what enriched life rather than at what deprived it" (p. 35).

The book challenges ageism to celebrate the vast, wealthy landscape of experiences of faith, friendships, lifelong suffering, hardship, love, and the value of longevity of life. Joyce is particularly candid in her own struggle and frustrations at times to understand her mother's aging process. Her mother's debilitation would increase and depression would cloud over many of her days. The struggle to extend patience and grace, to seek to engage her mother in conversation or activity, left her feeling helpless and often at a loss as she watched the changes in her mother. Joyce writes of her mother's resilient spirit fighting to keep her wings from being clipped, and the inner turmoil as she came to terms with her own ageing process. …

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