The Phases of Life

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being abides,
from which I struggle not to stray. The Layers, Stanley Kunitz*

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg  The Cloisters, San Lorenzo fuori le mura, 1824

Christoffer Wilhelm Eckersberg The Cloisters, San Lorenzo fuori le mura, 1824

The book of transformations

The phases of life are well described - the gift of life navigated from birth, through childhood into adolescence, then sprinting into young adulthood and through on to midlife then the elder days. Innocent beginnings, the finding of feet, the stirrings of passion and forging a living, creating family and community, facing old age and inevitably death - the terrain changes, but in what ways do we? Is my life in fact a 'book of transformations'*?

Pillars of wisdom?

Do my faith and heart contract or expand, my outlook narrow or enlarge? Do I become my true, whole self or a false, fractured self, distant in all my dealings? Who am I supposed to become – is there a script or song which I play out? To what do I join myself or stray from? To what do I ascend and in what ways must I descend? What light do joys and sorrows shed? Is my style of faith meant to develop and change through these phases of life? How do life and faith relate – to be separated or intrinsically joined ?

Are these phases a grace for our development of faith? Are there pillars of wisdom to guide us in our walk? An ancient and overarching theme?