Notes from Jan

Still Thinking

January 12, 2017

Famed economist, John Kenneth Galbraith, first coined the phrase.   He referred to the Still Syndrome as “an annoying affliction brought on by old age.  People see me and comment, ‘Are you still interested in politics?  Are you still doing things?’ ”

My first introduction to the phrase came in a Boston Globe article about Dr. Walter Guralnick, 100 years old and still showing up at Mass General Hospital, working with residents in the department of oral and maxillofacial surgery.


Dr. Guralnick took the syndrome to the positive side, where I choose to dwell, as often as possible.  He said, “I am still working and speaking,  still thinking, and I still enjoy the sight of a pretty woman!”

You, like I, are still here at the beginning of this New Year.

The why is not as important as on this day, for this moment, we are.

Still  is more than something that’s ending, as in “Are you still here?”  For me, it’s more  a hopeful connection between what was ,what is, and possibly what’s next.

This holy syndrome bids me be still.(Psalm 46:10)

It calls me to see Galbraith’s Still Syndrome, not as an “annoying affliction” but as one of God’s gifts…a nevertheless, moments or months wrapped in hope and possibilities.  An opportunity to be still,  still be, perhaps still do, even if it’s not all one used to do.

Still good.

Still here.







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  • Reply Dale Lefever January 12, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    Thanks Jan. Still thinking and praying for you.

    Blessings, Dale

  • Reply wendy lane January 13, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    So many areas we can choose to think positively or negatively! I love how you turn us to consistently look for the positive. So thankful you are still writing to us and sharing with us!

  • Reply Jim Zingarelli January 13, 2017 at 4:21 pm


    A very happy new year to you friend and as always, Katherine and I enjoy your posts and continue in prayer for you and with you in this most puzzling time we are living in.

    Your current post on “stillness” reminded me of the art movement De Stijl (pronounced de-Sh-tyle as in “style”). Stillness and style is a wonderful combination: rarity, simplicity, quiet elegance.

    Your phrase, “Still thinking” has that marvelous pared-down quality which brings us back to this moment (yes, I’m still here too!). These modernist practitioners of De Stijl, as the site says, “emerged largely in response to the horrors of World War I and the wish to remake society in its aftermath.” Although smitten and somewhat misguided by a belief that they could, in some utopian manner, usher in “social and spiritual redemption”, one still can’t blame them for trying by using only the most essential elements of line, color, and compositional harmony. Every once in a while, I just need a good dose of Mondrian: De Stijl brings me back to a place of stillness, and reminds me of a still small voice, the one that is responsible for creating the cosmos.

    We love you friend! Grace and peace,

    Jim and Kathy

  • Reply Dan & Kathy Russ January 13, 2017 at 9:45 pm

    Dear Jan,
    You are still wise, still eloquent, still playful, and still our favorite storyteller. Thanks for sharing your reflections with us.
    Dan and Kathy

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