I feel really bad about Heath Ledger. He was just plain too young. And this ties in with the section of Science and Health I was reading yesterday.
It was the section in Footsteps of Truth about age, especially page 246. Here are some sentences from that page:
Life and its faculties are not measured by calendars. …
The measurement of life by solar years robs youth and gives ugliness to age. …
Except for the error of measuring and limiting all that is good and beautiful, man would enjoy more than threescore years and ten and still maintain his vigor, freshness, and promise. …
Each succeeding year unfolds wisdom, beauty, and holiness. …
Let us then shape our views of existence into loveliness, freshness, and continuity, rather than into age and blight.
Vigor, freshness, promise… wisdom, beauty, holiness… loveliness, freshness, continuity… these are uninfluenced by the number of times we've circled the sun.
Here's what I wrote in the margin:
Youth is figuring out how to navigate here. Maturity is when you've figured it out and can get things done. I wasted so much time on youth. Now I am truly new. There is no depletion.
As I read yesterday, I thought of each of us, dumped into this material world as babies, with no general users manual or individual specific instructions. Why are we here? is the question, both individually and collectively. So we then commence a long process of education, trial and error, during which time we gradually figure out through testing and experiment what works for us and makes us happy. We can then move forward with fulfillment and purpose.
This process for me took thirty-three years. I made many mistakes, because although I had wise, more experienced folks looking out for me, they weren't me so they couldn't figure this out for me. But at about age thirty-three, I stopped making mistakes. I figured out through my experiences what was harmful to me and what was healthy. Every choice since then has been deliberate and I've taken responsibility, grown from it and charted my own path.
It's at this point that mortal, negative thinking would try to tell me, well, you're too old now to benefit from all that you've learned. Time now to slow down, give up, get smaller. In fact, it's right when we're at that point of deepened understanding that mortality tries to undermine with age beliefs what should be the next step—increasingly full fruition. I thank God for the insights from Mary Baker Eddy that have taught me not to accept or listen to those mortal lies.
I'm certainly not done; I have plenty more to do. But the questions of youth are behind me, and the promise of life is before me. I have an outlook that fills me with confidence and expectation. I have energy, joy, "freshness," "wisdom." My calendar age is irrelevant.
I think what gives me pause when I hear about young people who have exited this stage too early is that to me, they didn't have the time to get it figured out. They made one mistake too many in that experimental phase. We all feel that tragedy, because we know what it took to get through that part ourselves.
For those of us who make it through, we still have all the promise of infinite expression before us. God speed!
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