Sunday, December 11, 2011

"Life is the Here and Now"

Columnist in the Catholic Times in his  'semitransparent notes on life,  reflects, now in his early eighties, on what he would say if asked, "what is human life?" His answer: "Life is the here and now." Even if, he goes on to say, the place and time will never be repeated, the here and now can always be experienced.
For us who have lived through the important places and times of our lives: infancy, adolescence, middle years, and now old age, it is not meaningful to ask what was the best. However, it is naturally thought that the youthful years were the best. He reminds us of Hesse's novel Youth, Beautiful Youth  which gives us this view of life. Even more so the sculptor Auguste Rodin, who extolled youth; for him this was the time to enjoy life: romance, feasting, adventure, physical vigor, dreams, and the like.

However, our writer for the Catholic Times returns to the here and now, which for him is the important place and time on life's journey. But there is no absolute standard of judging this place and time, he says. As our inner life continues to change, it tends to bring lasting changes into our lives as well.

The columnist looks at a picture of his years in kindergarten; obviously the same person but hardly recognizable. The movement of life has been one of continuation and non-continuation. If we had a graph of the time from infancy to old age, he claims that the middle years would stand out like some mountain top. However, it would not be difficult to see the similarities of the first and last stages in life.
Both in the early and later years one cannot go it alone. Someone has to be there to help. And life becomes simpler. We cannot go after the competitive goals of life, and sex is something no longer of interest if we are old, or not yet of interest if we are infants. Comparing ourselves with others has ceased to be important or not yet entered our awareness. Overall, life tends to become orderly.

In conclusion, the writer reflects on his 80th birthday party, during which he said he is now entering his best years. He made the remark, he said, without thinking but in retrospect, he believes it to be accurate. He considers every day important, and lets distracting thoughts go by the wayside; it was this feeling he was expressing. He now experiences a peace he did not know when young; each day is filled with joy. It is like a three-part harmony: memories, joys and sorrows--and the melody, life. And it's beautiful. 

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