In Praise of a Second Life

When I ask, “What are you going to do with what remains of your life? How will you use your time in the time left for living?” I am met with blank expressions and empty eyes. Many, no, most, people don’t know what I’m talking about. Tomorrow is going to be just like yesterday for the vast majority of the world’s population. They hope it won’t be worse.

Yet, how to live what remains of our life is our primary problem, over and above all of our other problems. But, our other problems keep us from considering our problem.

We have a hard enough time paying the bills and deciding what’s for lunch—not to mention our concerns with our health, and what is going to become of us if this, or that, or that over there happens, and whether we will make it to retirement, or will have enough money to make it through retirement…

Fear, worry, anxiety and depression are all we can manage. We can’t think about the kind of life we might live—it’s enough to think about how to stay alive with a roof over our heads. We just want a little relief! A reprieve! Deliverance! Peace of mind! We are sure that our life will take care of itself—as it always has—if we can manage to pay the bills, and find some way to relax and enjoy ourselves.

People need help with the life they are living. They don’t need to hear about the life they ought to be living, in addition to the one they already have going. It’s hard enough paying the bills and having a little fun. They don’t need one more thing to have to do.

It’s a hard sell, talking to people about their life and how to live it, when they are focused on trying to make ends meet and get to the beach at least once this summer. But. It is an important sell, and crucial that as many of us as possible begin to make it.

Two things stand as evidence of an unlived life that is tired of being ignored, and is using the resources at its disposal to wake us up, get our attention, and lead us in the way of the way of the life that is ours yet to live, within the life we are living. The two things are symptoms and self-destructive choices and behavior (Which I see as one thing, not two—the choice elicits the behavior).

The people who do not want to think about the life they are living, or consider that there may be another life that is theirs to live, a life that they are called to live, and uniquely suited to live—and that it is their problem to find their second life and live it within the context and circumstances of the life they are already living—these people are awash in symptoms, both physical and emotional, and self-destructive choices and behavior.

They say they don’t have time to consider the possibility and implications of a second life because their hands are full with trying to live the life they are living. However, if their symptoms and self-destructive ways were reduced, they would have more than enough time to work their other life into their present life.

Beginning to live their second life would transform their first life—the old would pass away, and all things would be new. They would not be adding one more thing to their list of things they already can’t get around to. They would be radically enhancing their ability to be alive on all levels of both lives in the time left for living—and doing things they cannot imagine doing, until they take up the task of doing more than they think they are capable of getting done.

Published by jimwdollar

I'm retired, and still finding my way--but now, I don't have to pretend that I know what I'm doing. I retired after 40.5 years as a minister in the Presbyterian Church USA, serving churches in Louisiana, Mississippi and North Carolina. I graduated from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, in Austin, Texas, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. My wife, Judy, and I have three daughters and five granddaughters within about twenty minutes from where we live--and are enjoying our retirement as much as we have ever enjoyed anything.

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