In the deepest places of our being, we tend to look at meaning beyond ourselves. We may know that our life expectancy is a finite number of years, but this doesn’t answer why we were put on this earth to begin with. We may know that cellular deterioration will be how most of our lives will end, but this doesn’t answer what, if anything, will come next.
Whether we identify with a religion, believe in the sanctity of nature, karma, reincarnation, or simply hat we are all connected, we are all inclined to be spiritual beings. We are, with the greatest array of scientific discovery at our disposal, we are inclined to look at the heavens and wonder at the majesty of it all, or suck in our breath at a plant beginning to bud, or marvel each year at the first snowfall.
We are, in spite of an endless source of ever-increasing knowledge about conception, gestation, and birth, rendered speechless at the moment of our children’s or grandchildren’s entry into the world. We are every bit as awestruck as we were tens of thousands of years ago, when lightning streaked across the sky, or a baby sucked air into its lungs and screamed for the first time.
As many of us age, we cling more tightly to our faith, or discover it in a new way. We come to relish the journey of the soul with as much or more anticipation than we used to relish the accumulation of material goods or our hard-won professional progress.
In addition to listening to people’s words, we learn to hear the silence. In addition to taking in the knowledge of others, we learn to listen to the wisdom within. We come to understand that our world is only as rich as we believe it to be. We, who have been given the gift of experiencing life at midlife and beyond, become more humbled and awed daily by a universe that reveals itself in the grandest way possible and in the smallest.