“Youth is the period in which a [person] can be hopeless. The end of every episode is the end of the world. But the power of hoping through everything, the knowledge that the soul survives its adventures, that great inspiration comes to the middle-aged.”
G. K. Chesterton
I heard this quote spoken by Mary Chapin Carpenter on NPR yesterday, “the soul survives its adventures,” and was immediately struck by that great truth. Through all of our youth—the disastrous experiences of high school, the drama of early married life and caring for wee babies, the losses of loved ones, and lovers, pets and sometimes children—all things we think, at the time, we simply cannot survive, somehow we do. Likewise, most of us survive the terrible decisions, the bad alliances, the ridiculous, risky behaviors, and dreadful mistakes of our youth. We experiment with every taboo and break all the rules of engagement, and yet, we go on.
By middle-age, most of us realize that this is simply the way that life unfolds—ups and downs, wins and losses, stupid, and dumb, and smart—and we, thankfully, lose the drama. We are not constantly in crisis. If we've done our personal work, if we've allowed the adventures of our souls to teach us what we need to know, by old age there is not much that can shake us. Like that Farmer's commercial—we know it all because we've seen it all—and miraculously, we've survived it all. It's hard to watch our children go through it, knowing the pain they're likely to experience, but this, too, is the need of their souls. They must make their own blunders, and discover for themselves how to survive.
Let this be a day filled with hope. Whatever crisis is passing through your life at the moment, know that it, too, will pass, and you will survive. And not only survive, but thrive. Your soul must have its adventures. Just be open to the lessons it can teach you.
In the Spirit,