I'm getting older and sorry to say, so are you but I am happy for the process, and we shouldn’t bemoan it, because if you’re lucky you might have a stroke of insight like Dante did.
“Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost.” Written around 1321 and widely considered one of the greatest works of world literature, Dante, a thirty-five-year-old man is lost and wandering away from the True way, righteousness and God. He ends up finding himself a spiritual guide by the name of Virgil. Virgil is said to represent human reason and wisdom. Virgil is a strong and competent guide but needs Divine intervention to complete the journey safely.
In today’s modern terms, Dante is having a mid-life crisis, the world has become muddy with lies and he is faced with the realization that his time here on this planet is limited and he needs to find truth more desperately than ever. Perhaps when he was young, he felt he had all the time in the world, to figure “it” out. Perhaps one day he looked in the mirror and saw for the first time beautiful deep creases marching across his face, a physical reminder, that his time was coming to an end, setting him on a path of deep contemplation.
A spiritual director of mine once told me that “if we groomed and protected our souls in this life, we would have the strength to open the door to the next life.” Could it be that if we have not attended to our soul here in this life, that whatever our souls materialized into in the next would not be strong enough in the afterlife to open the heavy doors of truth to walk towards the light of truth?
Or think of it this way, when you look at a picture of Mother Teresa, she is most always very wrinkled and very battle worn, we look at that picture and think, “wow, she is beautiful.” Her wrinkles are beautiful because they are earned marks from a fellow sojourner in this world, battle worn and yet strong, we respect those wrinkles because we respect her life, life spent in pursuit of the truth of the divinity found, protected and honored in each human she came across whether lying in a ditch or sick and dying in a bed, she honored their humanness to the point of her own exhaustion. Truth be told, she understood the true meaning of love, which does not mean carte blanch to do what you want, but to will the good of the other, to do what is best not most convenient.
Society should be grateful for old age, an opportune time to see things more clearly and from this new vantage point, mentor, share, write and speak to the Creator.
“Dante enters the Empyrean, the place of pure light where God resides. There he is penetrated by the light of truth and understands that God's love is at the center of the universe, setting everything else into motion.”