EmPulse for the week of September11, 2011
‘Tis a rarity that anyone would not give predilection to a more proficient writer than themselves; but to William Shakespeare, any would duly acquiesce. He penned a commentary on the passages of our lives that needs little interpretation. They come from his 1600 play As You Like It, 2, 7. Please read with respectful historical reverence and perspective. Though not as precise as Gail Sheehy’s PASSAGES (1974 & NEW, 1996)) or Dr George Vaillant’s AGING WELL (2003), Shakespeare’s insights into our post-modern passages bears some degree of meditation. Some things are never new under the sun.
Yea, only slight commentary shall follow—
All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms;
Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover, Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier, Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the bard,
Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice, In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut, Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side; His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice, Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion; Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
In light of this passage, do life’s passages give you stage fright? Do you find yourself a slave to your assigned strata in life? Does it terrify you to make a mistake, to be wrong, to fail? If you are truly alive in life, be sure you will do all three. NOT to make mistakes, to be wrong, or to fail, would mean you are not truly alive or even human. Our God has not made us to be perfect…, just yet. But he has made us to assail life and live to the fullest, rather than to cower in the fear of not being perfect. Stage fright? Sure— at every twist & turn of the play. Yet we can rest in the safety of the Director’s understanding of what’s afoot.
Have a nice week,