The wisdom of the wise, down the ages
and around the world, is that there is a necessary undoing in middle age. That
there is understanding, and even joy, that can only be found on the other side
of suffering. Odin the All-Father must sacrifice an eye in order to perceive
things more clearly. Having survived the sea, Odysseus must walk away from it.
God, and love, and time, and chance, and our own bodies conspire together,
first to raise us up—discovering who we are, and the gifts we possess, by
which, when crafted into talent, we might contribute to the world—and then to
bring us low—that, stripped of all our ego has constructed, we might be freed
to discover that our truest self can be neither expanded nor diminished but
simply is, known and loved.
But what of those whose youth is
disrupted, by a pandemic, say, or by poor mental health, which can affect even
those who have been loved as well as their parents are able? What of those
whose undoing comes before they have ever known their raising up?
The closest thing I see to an answer
to that question is the Song of Mary, and the Beatitudes of her son. That there
is hope, and that that hope can sustain us as we wait for it to be fulfilled.
But this is an even greater Mystery than the wisdom of the wise ...