Walker Percy asks in his novel, “The Second Coming,” “is it possible for people to miss their lives in the same way one misses a plane?” Here is a one of Percy’s characterization of his main character Will Barrett. “Not once in his entire life had he allowed himself to come to rest in the quiet center of himself but had forever cast himself forward from some dark past he could not remember to a future which did not exist. Not once had he been present for his life. So his life had passed like a dream.” In other words, he did not pay attention to himself.
It is natural for men to live on the surface of their lives, building their tower of success, constructing their view of who they think they are and what they do in the world. We can create illusions regarding ourselves that do not fit reality. True reality takes us beyond the surface, and leads us into our souls. Men, this is where we really live. Here we find the good, the bad and even the ugly. Here we find the truth about ourselves. But our ego, as it goes about creating a false self, resents reality. Why? Because it does not want to face the Truth. But remember reality is based on the truth. Without the truth we are building on shifting sand. Jesus warns us, “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand” (Matt. 7:26). There will be “a great crash.” Our illusions can not stand up to reality.
Thomas Moore has observed, “nothing is more challenging, nothing less sentimental, than the invitation of spirit to become who we are and not who we think we ought to be.” Of vital importance is the awareness and confidence, that as we take the journey into our souls, to learn more about our real life story. Here the Lord meets us. “But if God himself has taken up residence in your life,” writes Paul, “you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells – even though you still experience all the limitations of sin – you yourself experience life on God’s terms….When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!” (Rom 8:10-11 – The Message)
So my advice men, is not to be afraid of the “inner journey.” It is the Spirit of God who calls you to pay attention and listen to what your life is telling you. This is your true story. A lot of it, we would rather not know nor experience. But Jesus waits for us in these realities. He waits for you with an embrace of love and mercy. He sees who we are as his child. He enables us to face our shame, self-doubt, self-hatred and guilt. Don’t let your life pass like a dream, never having become fully alive to who you are.