EPS 39: Real Help for Loss and Grief with Alise Chaffins

EPS 39: Real Help for Loss and Grief with Alise Chaffins

Today’s guest is a blogger, author, musician and a woman who suffered a string of terrible events and decided to tackle the topic of grief to help others through the process.

alisechaffins

If you’ve suffered a loss or know someone who’s grieving, this book will bring some needed comfort and give you helpful information to help better.  Alise and I have an important conversation today. Please scroll down to the shownotes to access the important links mentioned in the show.


Visit ALISE CHAFFINS‘ website.

Her book on grief.

Shownotes

Min 2:00
What is a good first step when someone is suffering?

MIN 3:00
“I’m sorry you’re going through this.”

Saying less is more.

Really listen to the language the person is using and echo it back to them and not the language that is comfortable for (you).

MIN 5:20
Using faith or heaven language might not be welcome.

MIN 9:30
About the string of suffering and trauma that brought grief to Alise and how she needed to get better through therapy and medication.

MIN 14:00
Medication during grief to process properly.

MIN 17:00
Isolation in grief. The paradox of uniqueness and universality of grief.

MIN 20:00
How we can share our grief with memories or with others in some way.

MIN 21:20
Grief Share organization and places to develop new rituals and finding community of other bereaved.

MIN 23:00

“Grief helps us find our humanity.”
Grief pulls us together. It’s the event that strips us of our humanity.

MIN 25:00
Attaching morality onto emotion is doing ourselves a disservice because it doesn’t allow us to feel what we feel. The actions beyond those feelings can be moral or immoral.

MIN 26:00
Grief and separation anxiety:

Grief is the (normal) human emotional response to loss. It is a common part of human experience and may produce growth. We can lose people, places, objects, relationships, and even ideas. Some losses may not be actual, but anticipated, or a perceived loss. (25) Acute grief looks remarkably similar to a classic anxiety attack (same physical symptoms). It is similar to the feelings felt in fear. In grief one fears the loss of self through separation, and experiences separation anxiety. (28) 

It is a function of attachment. It can be understood also as our emotions catching up with our reality. (38) The more we can love the more we can grieve. Our abnormal attachments show up (caused by an improper process of  grieving) as permanent emotional detachment or heightened attachment. (30)

R. Scott Sullender, “Grief and Growth: Pastoral Resources for Emotional and Spiritual Growth” Paulist Press, 1985.

MIN 28:30
Stages of grief like a water cycle and forgiveness and grace.

MIN 31:30
Extending forgiveness during grief and the risk and humility needed.

MIN 32:15
Healing and time and doing our part and letting go once we’ve done what we can.

MIN 33:15
A mustard seed of faith that the story isn’t over yet. Reconciliation can mean we put our weapons down and that’s restoration too.

MIN 34:15
Recognizing progress.

MIN 35:00
Being more aware of grief in others so that you can have more grace during trying circumstances.

MIN 37:00

Alise’s website:

 http://knittingsoul.com

FACEBOOK GROUP PAGE:
http://facebook.com/alisechaffins


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Esp 22: Why The Dark Night of the Soul is like Fight Club

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Shownotes
Doug Jackson, Returning Guest and All-Star, Explains the 3 Stages of Spiritual Development and Dispels the Biggest Myths.

Do you know St John of the Cross?

What you don’t know could hurt you…but good news, you are now in for a treat!

Listen and get a fascinating perspective of the darkest places on the spiritual journey with your guide Professor Doug Jackson. See the show notes below!

DougJackson

3:00

Historic context of 16th Century Catholic Revival-Era Spanish Mystic, St John of the Cross

4:30

3 stages of spiritual development 

How do we know if we are making progress and what can we expect?

St John (1542-1591) provides a roadmap for night travel.st-john-of-the-cross-zurbaran-detail-featured-w740x493

The Beginner Stage
(The beginner loves God for the self’s sake. The beginners thinks, “What’s good for me.”)

John H Coe

Doug explains the Dark Night of the Soul, the important next stage of spiritual development, in keen and helpful detail.

7:00

God starts at the first stage (in a place of joy and thrill in God) and allows us delight in spiritual things and feed on “mother’s milk” spiritually.

Next, God helps us get used to our baby teeth by moving us to love God for God’s sake.

John of the Cross takes the 7 deadly sins and show how they can happen to us in a spiritual sense.

8:10

God is weening us away from nursing and from spiritual milk. Like a baby, we may misunderstand and feel unloved or unnoticed, at first.

9:00

Commodified is the Dark Night of the Soul in Amercian Evangelicalism. The phrase itself is often used inexactly.

It’s not feeling sad or a string of bad things have happened for which we feel upset and confused.

BUT—It is that without cause we feel God has abandon us.

It is not a loss of faith, nor not depression, nor a felt distance because of sin.

It was also an analysis of depression 400 years before Freud! 

11:00

God withdraws sensible (sensory, felt) affects. The dark night of the senses. (first phase).

12:30

Maybe it feels like prayers are bouncing off the ceiling. Maybe it feels that songs or sermons that had made an affect no longer do. This sense of loss will be different for each person.

13:30

Essentially, the delight in God disappears.

13:00

Mistakenly, we often may try to shock people back into spiritual infancy with a method, tactic, or suggestion that seems like it might cause feeling once again. (like a book, a conference, a service, etc)

14:10

The spiritual advice from John is to not abandon your spiritual practices (like prayer, fellowship, meditation, service, etc) continue to obey God and carry on until you pass through the night. They won’t be fun, but you continue for God’s sake, not your own.

Then you can come out on the other side to the stage of the Proficient. (Though the stages are actually more porous.)

15:00

The 2nd stage is where John says most of us get and hardly proceed from.

2nd dark night, is rare, and is horrible and includes a bewilderment and even a loss of faith in God and one comes out with a much richer deeper faith and far more settled and fuller understanding of God.

John Coe using 1 John 2:12-14 explains the stages as well.

18:00

John of the Cross found this understanding through terrible suffering and imprisonment and he saw the spiritual connection.

19:30

In the Dark Night of the Soul, spiritual answers are obscured and things are hidden from view.

Walking by faith and not sight.

22:00

If you can’t find the answers it doesn’t mean that something went wrong, it’s just that you can see right now. There will be a lack of certainty.

22:30

Stick with the basics in the dark night.

23:30

In the dark night we aren’t doubting our Faith, or God, but but we are doubting our understanding of God and our Faith.

The call is to obey God and persist in our ways as before. Eventually a dawn will come.

23:00

In this stage, we jettison things that are not core, central and true and come to understand God in a better way.

BE WARNED: Others may feel anxious to get you back in to where you were.

24:00

Backsliding is not the same thing as a Dark Night experience. The Dark Night is progression.

24:30

Prophets in the OT go through the dark night times.

25:00

Using a different lens to see what is already there.

26:00

Examples:

Elijah after Mt Carmel

Apostle Paul

Job

Jesus (wilderness and Gethsemane)

Jesus “learned obedience” and the the will of God was not pleasant

We all go through these types of dark nights

 

28:00

John of the Cross’s work was (and is) written for [spiritual] guides (leaders) so they can recognize what is happening and to know what not to do.

30:00

Some mystical-style theologians have been hijacked and grafted into a different (sometimes New Age) model of how the reality is ( i.e. “divided self”.)

30:30

The Devil – So what about the Devil which is a prominent feature in the writings?

A CAUTION:

John takes the readers’ Christian theology for already granted. The basic Christian theology was assumed because that was the background and beliefs of his audience.

32:00

Doug answers…Devil with a Big “D” questions. How do we come to understand John and what he is saying, if it is different than our understanding of The Devil and the spiritual world?

Don’t rehabilitate [John], or superimpose our ideas on his work.

Don’t judge or put parts on trial for the embarrassing and difficult sections of St John of the Cross.

34:30

Approach the text thus: “Eat the meat of the fish not the bones”

35:00

If the language bothers you, then let it lie fallow and see what is going on in your own heart as you read.

35:30

We can learn from old text.

36:00

On intellectual honesty and intellectual humility

37:00

On why the devotional classics become that way.

37:30

On the reading of old books (C.S. Lewis) (click to read)

We have different blind spots now. Different mistakes in different times.

38:30

Our cultural and worldview will effect our beliefs.

39:00

How do we get through the Dark Night?

It is up to God as a Grace. Our only job is to remain faithful.

Father Francis Kelly Nemeck

41:00

The promise is (found in Scripture and from those who’ve gone ahead of us in the Faith) that we come out (into dawn) and see the value of what we went through.

God says to Job: I’m God and you are not.

Job says, “Now I have seen you. I spoke out of turn.”

42:00

A word of hope for those in the dark night.

1. Those in the dark night bless those around them and their pride does not effect this because of the Night itself. We are spiritual protected.

43:00

In the Dark Night we don’t get to be proud of our humility.

Be faithful know that God is using you and wait it out.

43:30

Modern example Mother Teresa. She lived most of her life with a sense of abandonment by God.

“If I ever become a Saint I will be a Saint of Darkness, facing the dark to guide souls to the light.”

44:00

People were drawn to her service and work for God even though she felt God’s silence.

45:00

On her critics who say she stopped believing in God.

Christopher Hitchens wrote slanderously about her and others in his book “The Missionary Position”. He said she did have the courage to admit publicly that she didn’t believe in God and never had.

46:00

Mother Teresa–her fruit shows otherwise (it’s sow belief and faithfulness).

Apostasy is a deliberate walking away from God which is a danger of misunderstanding the Dark Night. This is why trained and wise spiritual guides are essential.

47:00

C.S. Lewis character Screwtape urges: “Use the word “phase” to tell him he had it all wrong”

In a genuine Dark Night, we may think we have abandon God or want to and then find ourselves incapable of it.

48:00

Doubt in God is like holding a volleyball underwater with just one hand and senses all the force and then thinking there is no volleyball because it cannot be seen.

“We aren’t working without a net and we won’t fall out of the arms of God.”

49:00

If you are in the Dark Night…(it helps) remembering “it’s a thing, a documented thing”.

49:30

Walking in the footsteps of those who’ve gone before.

51:00

What to do if you are in the throes of it all. best advice.

Richard Foster’s advice in the Celebration of Discipline. The chapter on solitude.

Don’t try to explain this to people when you are in it.

(It’s like Fight Club) “The first rule of Fight Club is you don’t talk about fight club”

Most people will not get it. It can hurt our spiritual reputation. God is drawing us into obedience and faith in the absence of feeling. We carry on

Spiritual Director or guide is very important.

“The Dark Night of the Soul” (click to get it free)

“The Way of Spiritual Direction”

“The Spiritual Journey: Crucial Thinking and Stages of Adult Spiritual Genesis”

Henri Nouwen “The Way of the Heart”

55:00

Protestantism running thin in certain areas.

Psychology tainted some spiritual experience as pathology and than co-opted with modern Christianity.

57:00

Baptists were not systematic theologians early on because of the persecution from the Mother Church (in Rome).

58:00

Puritan writers like Jonathan Edwards take God as Physician of the Soul very seriously.

59:00

The one sermon that did in Jonathan Edwards in our time.

“The Religious Affections” To teach that the Great Awakening was just an emotional experience or demonic experience. He writes on how to understand what is of God.


60:02

On taking your time understanding the Dark Night. God is trying to bring us into greater maturity and Christ likeness.


Have you ever gone through a Dark Night of the Soul?
If you’ve reached the dawn, what was strengthen or changed in you?

Blessings in your night travels. If you aren’t in a Dark Night, it’s coming. Stay Calm and Carry on.

If you have any questions or you would like to drop me a line about what you are going through, please use the contact page. A helpful (worldwide) listing to find qualified guides is here.

 

Episode 14: A chat with Ed Cyzewski

Episode 14: A chat with Ed Cyzewski

Shownotes for Episode 14: How-to pair wine and chocolate for a great party + a chat with author, Ed Cyzewski

BANANA CART?
(Your ears are not fooling you. In Columbus, Ohio at 9:30 pm a man rides a bike around and rings a bell as he sells frozen chocolate covered bananas. Too funny. And it sounds delicious, if not suspicious. That’s why I’m featuring chocolate in the wine segment today! Enjoy it. It’s bananas, after all.)


Want to try the practice of EXAMEN?

In this episode Ed and I chat about one of his favorite spiritual practices. It’s been very transforming for me too. It’s the practice of Examen (typically pronounced: EGGS-Aye-men).

This age old practice of reflection, mindfulness, and prayer to begin and end one’s day goes back ages in Christian History and is reflected in spirit throughout the bible. Like in David’s sentiments in the Psalms (like Psalm 119) and in Isaiah 26:9.

“My soul yearns for you in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for you…”

So today I offer you my personal version of the Examen practice!

I call it “The Daily Sharpening Ritual”
–It’s the perfect way to supercharge and renew personal and spiritual awareness in your life.

It’s a simple but effective worksheet makes the practice easier to sustain. I hope you give it a try.
The practice takes just 3-5 minutes each morning and just before bed.
• You can see surprising changes in awareness in only 5 days.
(Simply print out 5 copies and follow-through for 5 days!)

Both EXAMEN-like worksheets below work like an Examen practice, but the 2nd one features prayer more fully in addition to reflection and mindfulness.

Check them out to see which one you like best. Print out both if you’d like:

SharpeningPRAYER• The SHARPENING Ritual 

• The SHARPENING Ritual
(PRAYER-centered VERSION)

(Enjoy these resources with my compliments…tipping what you can is optional.)


How we find spark:

We are in this together. As you listen and become part of what is happening here, it will be obvious that I spend a lot of time and a bit of money doing the show: website, paying for media hosting, producing it, editing, adding music, finding and speaking with guests, more editing, more research, and all the rest to bring you something of value in the Spark My Muse podcast.

Lots of heart, sweat and occasionally tears for your enjoyment and inspiration. You get to decide what that means and what it’s worth.

 

So, I invite you to just listen, read, and contribute what the episode is worth to you.

 

• If nothing, I apologize. Please, come back and listen again soon.

• If you think it’s worth one dollar, five dollars, twenty-five dollars, six hundred billion-gazillion dollars…you see where I’m going with this…, or offer something of equal value that is not monetary, simply contribute what it has been worth to you. HERE.

(or contact me here if it’s not monetary. Be creative!)
Thank you!
With Love,
~Lisa

 

WINE SEGMENT

 

MINUTE 2:30

Best tips for the tastiest pairing Party of chocolate and wine!

A how-to.

A chocolate and wine tasting party is so much fun.

• It’s ideal for groups of 3-12 people.

• Have each person bring some wine and provide samples of high quality chocolate and let the fun start!

It’s the acid:
One of the tasty things you can do is pair chocolate and wine. Both chocolate and wine have higher levels of acidity which makes them a naturally delicious match.

Well-paired wine and chocolate work together to make each one taste better. Delicious qualities come out in both the wine and the chocolate and even form a third taste. A careful selection is needed.

Here are some ideas of which wine to pair with which kinds of chocolate treats.

TIP 1

The most  important tip to remember is to keep the wine sweeter than the treat it’s pair with.

(If you don’t it can make the wine seem less tasty and flavorful or heighten its bitterness. yucky.)

TIP 2

Make sure you have high-quality chocolate. 

Many supermarketers have a premium chocolate section and you probably only need one bar of each kind or just a good quality box assortment. Baked good work as well and you can search online too.

TIP 3

Taste test the chocolate ahead of time: Pick out certain fruit flavors, determine the sweet and bitter components they have, check for nuttiness qualities and levels of acidity. If the chocolate has a creme center this will take on added complexity that might pair well with fruit-forward wines. 

TIP 4

A rule of thumb is that darker wines tend to pair better which darker chocolate and should be served first: More full-bodied, (heavier feeling in the mouth) dark and drier (not a sweet style) red wine pair well with the more bitter chocolates that have a higher cocoa %.

White wines tend to pair well with milk chocolate blends and chocolates that have sweeter and fruitier flavor notes.

TIP 5
Remember TIP #1 one …keep the wine SWEETER than the chocolate!

MAKING A MATCH
Pick your wines according to the flavors you’ve tasted in the chocolate,
 and ask your guests to bring a specific variety of wine.

Here are some specific ideas for the kinds of wine you may want to serve, but you can feel free to experiment and see if your palate prefers something different.

Bittersweet chocolate (70% to 100%): This chocolate type enters the bitter range with deep intensity. Good choices include Bordeaux wines (merlot, cab franc, cab save), Beaujolais, Shiraz, Port, Malbec.

Dark chocolate (50% to 70%): Pair this with more robust wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, off-dry chamborcin and Port. A Chianti can match well with chocolate around 65 percent cocoa content.

Milk chocolate: Try Merlot, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Muscat, and dessert wines. Champagne is also a natural match for milk chocolate. The crisp, dry flavour of the bubbly contrasts perfectly with the creaminess of a simple milk chocolate tablet. Be careful of the higher sugar levels in milk chocolate, as these may cancel out any fruitiness in dry red wines, leaving them tasting bitter.

White chocolate (which is really cocoa butter) : Match with Sherry, Muscato (a.k.a. Muscat) a fruity Chardonnay (un-oaked), These wines will pick up on the buttery, slightly oilier tones of the cocoa butter. Vidal Blanc, Niagra blends, catawba blends.

Champagne or sparkling wine goes well with all chocolate types. It is a variety that compliments many kinds of wines. Many fortified dessert wines work well across the chocolate spectrum as well because they tend to be sweeter.

PARTY TIP
To keep every one sharp and feeling well, Offer your guests some bread or light fare before you begin and keep the wine samples to just an ounce. 

HOW TO TASTE THE PAIR
1. Take take a small sip of wine and note the aromas and tastes. Some hosts offer guest a sheet to jot down their observations.

2. Then bite into the chocolate and note what it happening as you taste and eat it.

3. Then you sip the wine again and note the new flavor notes and changes that the chocolate brought to the wine. It’s amazing how much the taste of the wine will change according to what it is paired with.

4. Don’t rush through the pairing. 7-10 minutes per pairing is about right. Allow people to really luxuriate on the experience and talk about the flavors and taste combinations they are experiencing.

AMBIENCE TIP
This is not a consumption event, it’s a sensory group experience where enhanced awareness is key. Relax and take your time. Chocolate and wine are luxury items.

THE TAKEAWAY
It’s a great lesson for life too. The point isn’t to bulldoze through life and get it out of the way, but to really notice what is happening and take it all in deeply. Downshift to a better appreciation of encounters with others, with our surroundings, and ultimately with ourselves and to God who makes a home within us.

• Enjoy yourself and let me know of the pairings you came up with  (in the comments section) and how your pairing experimenting went, or what your plans are. I’d love to know. You can post pictures at the Spark My Muse Facebook page too.

Do you have questions? Leave them here, use the voice mail feature, or use the contact page and I’ll try to answer them in future episodes.

 


Sparking your Muse…
a chat with Ed Cyzewski

edc200_thumb

Visit Ed’s website.

 

 


Interview notes

11:00

Ed talks about his upcoming Christian Writer’s Survival Guide book

12:30

The practices of prayer and writing are connected in so many ways.

12:30

Contemplative prayer

Spiritual Direction

and how Ed is learning more about Holy Spirit and waiting on the Lord

14:30

From my experience…”Type A” or productive person’s view of prayer is active or proactive (maybe not involving much listening to God) (Lisa)

15:00

Apophatic prayer – God is found in the silence more than I thought (Lisa)

15:30

“The Creative process and prayer require us to enter with hands open”.

16:00

For both (writing and prayer), you can’t force the outcome…

16:15

Submit to the process.

Do the work.

17:00

“[A] general principle is to create space to allow inspiration and good writing to happen.”

Maybe (it can happen) in retreats or in different ways.

19:20

My favorite podcast Krista Tippet’s show On Being Onbeing.org (Lisa)

Pico Iyer-  (paraphrase) “So much information is coming in but we have less space to process it.” -Pico Iyer The Art of Stillness

20:15

Never a moment wasted because of technology…but at what cost?

21:00

(Ed) on not having times for his brain to slip into neutral..

21:30

Ed says walks helped clear his mind, and he had to detox and ween from media.

22:30

We have a loss of self and fear of quietness.

22:45

40 Day Ignatian retreat bringing a terrifying and alone sense after 2-weeks until she found God in the quiet.

24:00

Ed’s method for unplugging and creating space:

Relent technique-going offline after 5pm and weekends.

25:30

Leaving my phone in my car when I go for walk to eating out. (Lisa)
• I’ve experienced less anxiety (to my surprise).

27:00

(Ed’s sarcasm) College students in the 1990s would die all the time, every week, because they didn’t have cell phones. Funerals every week for the mobile phone-less.

27:30

In the 1980s my dad got collect calls from “pick me up”. (Lisa)

29:10

UK study showing that teens are more anxious because of tech and over-connectedness.

29:40

Maybe because the media (they are using) is socially consequential and not neutral: like watching tv or listening to radio. (Lisa)

32:00

From his upcoming book:

Allowing space to grow and learn. His spiritual practice of Examen.

The app he uses: Examine App

The practice helped him come up with writing topics.

33:30

The practice showed him the imbalance of his life.

 

35:10

Contemplative writer’s Facebook on group

37:00

Kirsten Oliphant

Andi Cumbo-Floyd

37:50

The group has lots of generosity there like a support group.

39:20

How Ed keeps a balance in mood and outlook when the stories he writes about are negative and make him angry.

How he uses a generous redemptive approach and giving his anger time to dispute so he can write with redemption in mind, inspired by Richard Rhor.

40:00

God wants to redeem everyone.

40:30

…Controversy and hit pieces build a quick blog audience…but the challenge is to be redemptive and to still confront in love when necessary…

41:00

“I’d rather be an Atheist than attend the Village Church” (his angry article)

42:40

Trying to encourage others to be redemptive and holding back if he can’t do it in a redemptive way. Waiting is important.

43:30

How we change. Example: Women in Ministry and how Ed’s mind changed.

44:20

“God is all about the long game.”

(It’s not helpful to create animosity)

44:50

(Lisa) “The power of heightening Empathy (to solve problems). Sharing stories helps.

The job of a person who is called to communicate for something bigger than themselves is to ask…

‘Am I able to show people something that they haven’t seen, but  then once they see they know it’s true. And they can’t unseen it’.”

“And to feel it too…what that (other) person is feeling.” -Ed

(If you’d like to have Ed back to discuss how writing can be “soul-killing” and what to do about it, please let us know and leave a comment! Was the show too long? Too short? Ed and I decided we are curious about this, so let us know.)

:)


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BREAKING NEWS:

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Essay on Youth

Some of my thoughts on youth, now that it’s in the rear view mirror.

Youth: a chronic condition that ends in time.

CC file found here
teen star (CC file found here)

The stage of Youth: A time characterized by excitement, worry, hope, fear, misplaced confidence, and options (plenty of which are set to expire).

Nothing breathes fresh air into a situation like an eager youth ready to learn, try, fail, and keep trying. It inspires the younger ones and rallies the older ones.

Nothing is more endearing than a youth who prizes earlier generations and lacks the blinding hubris typical to the stage of the development.

and to the god of our age….Youth, Oh the beauty of it. Personified, Venus, her name. (Youthful Beauty…or what nearly every commercial directed at females is about.)

Like a baby unblemished and without scars, youth displays itself on the young like a pillar of potential, a stack of dreams and promises, shinning and magnificent, and frozen for just that moment in time. Though what youth feels this truly? Youth is a self-deluding time: The stage seems expansive when you are in it, and experience can’t bear this out differently because of the great lack of it.

Sustaining this impossibility of sustained youth, this age of supposed perfection becomes the futile and bitter plight for too many. And the fight for it is nonsensical.

Youth is a stage to be enjoyed and then left behind like outgrown clothes, once pristine, but all-too-soon ill-fitting and inappropriate for the rest of the voyage. Ballet slippers are shed for work boots.

How true that Youthful beauty is but one kind. Though who knows this?

By being convinced that beauty has a pinnacle (age 21?) too may rue the loss of this exterior sort of it–never realizing the false conception is not based on much more than societal conventions and symmetry…but it sells a lot of face cream, doesn’t it?

Yes, the flower of spring is glorious (youth indeed), but the whole plant, or tree, is the greater thing. An oak, a tower in homage to resilience, humanity in the full, of which youthful can never assail, let alone master.

The joy and glory of youth is the promise of accomplishment. Like graduation ceremonies and semi-finals matches.

Though what youth sees it this way?

And what about the resentment of youth by the no longer young?
Maybe it stems from the regret of the energy and options lost. The verve the youths possess can seem enviable. Though they (youth) don’t know it, their blatant inexperience and lack of wisdom, from the outside, seems pitiful, just like the weakness and lethargy of advanced years seem like that to the youth.

“What a young fool,” says the man.

“What a tired and bitter old man,” says the youth.

Both under-estimated.

And back to confidence.

Youthful confidence rests in that accomplishments are assured with effort and willingness. (Though it seems different to them sometimes. For them, confidence may rest mainly in feeling the power of mind and body so fully.)

This confidence is often shattered or dismantled within a decade because of the slings and arrows of life. But occasionally not, and never for the narcissist.

Sickness, financial strain, mishaps, circumstances, failure, and the most debilitating – early success – strip out the potency of youthful confidence. With persistence and determination this is replaced by the better things:

  • stability of character
  • the resolution of will 
  • fortitude of spirit

But, best of all: the of acquisition compassion necessary for the species to survive, or even–sometimes– thrive.

(Oh, that it is empathic compassion, not pity, is the impetus for acts of goodness.)

And what of maturity of the youth? 

A mature youth is only mature compared to his peers or the fools of older generations.

And for good reason. Maturity is a gift, not a certainty. It comes through time, but also by Grace, just as youth and health come. Though who knows this?

A “mature youth” is usually an oxymoronic attribute, as genuine maturity involves accumulating wisdom.

Maturity and wisdom come through testing and testing by the passage of time well-lived and the battles of life well-tested.

Youthful maturity is then only the bud of it which, if it is there at all, is necessarily nestled in humility (knowing well, or in some good manner, the terrible disadvantage of inexperience).

In the end, the unknown exists for all, but the degrees and varieties of it change as time passes and aging happens. Both exciting and terrifying–needing courage and inner strength.

It goes in stages from

“What will I become?”

to

“What will become of me, and us all?”

 

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