I find myself in a serendipitous position writing this final piece. After finishing the previous section, I looked at what I wanted to write about next and wasn’t sure where to go from there. It’s something that often happens to writers and time away from the work is usually a good way to bring it together.
The next day, I was with my co-chaplains on retreat and our facilitator showed us a video from the theologian, Ron Rolheisser, who summarized everything I’ve been writing about (almost down to the chapter headings) and speaking about the next steps. If I could implant the video into this final section (albeit slightly edited), I would and call it a day.
Instead, I’ll do what I normally do, which is merge his thoughts with my own to create a synthesis of something slightly new. However, if you want to see the full video check out part two of, Mysticism: The Heartbeat of God.
The first part of our lives are pretty strong. We find ourselves constantly seeking pleasure and joy, finding company to have some fun. Even those of us with horrible upbringings will bury it and move on to live a more adjusted life. However, as we inch closer to our midlife (close to our forties), those wounds begin to surface and we start to marinate ourselves in them.
That’s why your conversations with friends shift from gossip and fun to financial woes, life problems and health issues. Yes, it’s what we’re facing at the time, but we’re really doing is marinating ourselves in the wounds of our past.
Now it’s time to make a choice.
We can acknowledge our brokenness and grieve it, allowing ourselves to find healing in the process, or we can continue to get bitter about it. Nobody has all the answers and nobody might have a specific answer for you. That’s why it’s important to have a bigger story about yourself.
If you understand your story to be, “I’m broken, life sucks, people suck and nobody understands…” that’s where your story is going to end. You will never get over it.
Instead, if you understand your story to be something greater – “I’m broken, others I’ve encountered are also broken, we share the same themes, I’m going to acknowledge it, grieve it and start to be grateful for all the good things in my life and leave this world a happy person,” your story ends much better.
It’s like living the Cinderella story knowing the ending before it’s happened. You know you must sit in the ash before you get to go to the ball and live happily ever after. Side note: the ash and the happily ever after are both metaphors for our own human condition and not our physical realities.
We don’t know things are going to be okay.
But – if you speak to those who are ahead of you in life, you’ll notice two types of people: those who accepted the first story and those who accepted the second. Both of those people could be coming from the same set of circumstances, but their outcomes are different.
We are all broken.
It’s how you view life from here on out that will be your narrative.