COLLEGE PARK, MD –
A life can be seen as simply breathing and existing in this world.
That, however, is not what a life is. A life is an intricate web of interdependence in which a being accepts and plays their role and does so with a sense of abundance.
A life requires that the one living it is an active participant. Lives spent in passive observation aren’t lives at all.
People can live in three ways: as spectators, gladiators, or commentators.
The way it works when a life is lived appropriately is that children spectate (discover the rules of the game in the arena of life’s bleachers), adults “gladiate” (struggle for good in the arena of life), and elders commentate (guide the gladiators with their experience gained in the arena themselves).
It is important that these roles are played by a person at the appropriate stages throughout their time on earth in order for them to have “a life” – not simply exist.
Any childhood spent without discovering the rules of the game leaves the individual without the skills to traverse adulthood successfully.
Any adult that seeks to be free of the trials of the “arena” will have no guidance worth offering as an elder.
Any elder with no guidance to offer has set the foundation for the next generation’s lifelessness.
Many of this column’s readers are adults, and should be gladiators. What I see often in my position as a university chaplain is young adults unwilling to accept responsibility and commitment.
This is not necessarily the fault of these people. There are many forces at work that we all fall victim to.
As adults, we have no choice but to abundantly accept our roles and responsibilities. We must commit to struggling for good during this stretch of our lives.
That is the only way to open ourselves to life, freedom, and happiness. All of those can be found at the doors of commitment, humility, service, love, and worship.
Leaving those lofty concepts behind in search of “freedom” is a great pitfall of our generation. The one who falls into that is the one who seeks to be free of the trials of the the arena.
The one who falls into that is left with nothing to give to the world and, thus, becomes irrelevant – as if he or she never lived at all.
I pray that each of us is blessed with a life.