Uncharted Journey

 Beth Lindsay Templeton, Uncharted Journey: On the Challenges of Getting Older and Other Transitions (Greenville SC: FPS Press, 2018), 169 pages.


This book consists of 42 letters written by a secret admirer to the reader. The letters vary in size, from one to six pages. Each begins with a quote that comes from a variety of sources. A number of the quotes are from the Psalms. Other quotes are from those familiar to me such as Anne Morrow Lindberg, Henri Nouwen, Scott Peck, Reynolds Price, Richard Rohr and Barbara Brown Taylor. But there are many other tidbits of wisdom quoted by those I did not know. Following the quote, Templeton encourages the reader as they deal with issues such as retirement, moving, children being distant, broken relationships, downsizing, divorce, and death.  Her voice is gentle. Instead of giving definite answers, she opens up a number of new possibilities for the reader. Throughout these letters, the reader is encouraged to go easy on his or herself, to embrace the limitations while maintaining a curiosity of the future. The past is to be cherished as it prepares us for the future. Although I won’t spoil it, at the end of the book the readers learns the identity of their own secret admirer.

I met Templeton recently at a conference held by the Presbyterian Church USA’s Board of Pension. In introducing this recent book of hers, she told about how the final proofs came just days after her own husband had died unexpectedly from pneumonia. Reading the proofs, she said she appreciated the advice that she didn’t remember writing. While her husband is credited for helping in her preface and for doing the photography on the book in his memory.

While I am still a six or eight years away from retirement, this book has given me a lot to consider. I can also think of many people who might find her words encouraging, especially those retired who are moving into Continuing Care Facilities or who have to make difficult decisions about a loved ones or unhealthy relationships. While much of the book is tied to aging, there are many lessons for those of all ages. I recommend you check it out.


Uncharted Journey — 6 Comments

  1. The one aspect of getting older I look forward to downsizing. I’ve never been big on what amounts to the clutter most people can’t seem to live without. My best explanation of that statement is the fact my wife has at least three porcelain cake stands that take up a lot of storage space because of their odd shape.

    My children living away from me is something I’m dreading. My son has some interest in the Baltimore area while my daughter right now talks of attending college in Washington State. Whether any of this comes to pass is an open question but within the realm of possibility.

  2. This sounds like a book that would be helpful to me. My husband is retiring at the end of this year. We will be downsizing and moving hopefully in the months following that. Also our son and daughter-in-law are expecting their first child (our first grandchild) at the end of January. Additionally, we both have some aging and health issues to deal with. Many changes are coming our way, and we could probably use some help in finding our way through those changes. Thanks for the review!

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