From 1967 to 1971 I was in the Navy stationed on a top-heavy destroyer and home-ported out of Norfolk, Virginia. At some point during that time period I remember Peggy Lee singing, “Is That All There Is?” Actually I think this is a pretty profound question and one that many today are asking even if they have not yet found these exact words to express the yearning that they feel. The real sentiment at the heart of this question is the desire to understand our inner life. Our inner life develops and grows to the degree that we are willing to reflect upon it. We all get passing stray thoughts about ourselves. Do we bother to jot them down so that we can later reflect upon these thoughts? Some of those thoughts might sound very familiar! Why do I do what I do? Why do I want what I want? Why can’t I hold onto a friendship? Why do I feel this way?
The answers to these questions don’t usually come all at once. Sometimes the answers are more like a painting that slowly reveals elements the longer one stares at it. Insights into our inner life can come about through the patient examination of how we live. For example, at first glance helping someone do something would seem to be a good thing. But upon further examination does the way in which we help someone actually encourage them… or does it shame them? The difference can reveal to us a lot about our own inner beliefs and motives!
When we are younger it seems old age is so far away that it doesn’t have anything to do with us. Whether we are immature chronologically or emotionally we may put off dealing with the mysterious questions in our lives. When we are young it seems to us that all things are possible. When we get older… not so much. Now that I am 63 I have a much different perception about time and its passing. A good friend who I kept meaning to call for several weeks in a row passed away recently and now that phone call is no longer possible. Sometimes later can be too late! What needs to be asked and reflected upon needs to be done now, no matter our age. We are not guaranteed the old age that we may think that we have coming to us!