Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Many Lives

I was recently reading a friend's blog and was reminded of the reason Henry David Thoreau gave for leaving his little house on Walden Pond. "I left the woods for as good a reason as I went there. Perhaps it seemed to me that I had several more lives to live, and could not spare any more time for that one." (See chapter 18)

My friend, David Heald, was writing about his decision to leave the parish ministry--check out his Transparent Eyeball Blog entry, "Many More Lives To Live." I've also known people who left careers to become parish ministers. My own older brother, after many years in the computer field, recently became a social worker. All around us there are people who, as Thoreau also said, are living "lives of quiet desperation," yet also all around us there are people who have the courage to strike out and do something new.

One of the things that always appealed to me about the Highlander TV show was the idea of these immortals who'd had "many lifetimes" in which they could pursue many different paths--the same woman or man who'd been a concert pianist, a surgeon, a mercinary, a monk. I always thought it would be a wonderful thing to have the opportunity to live many different lives, and here's old Henry David talking about doing so within his own, limited, lifespan; about leaving one life for any of the "several more" that were waiting for him. And, as it turns out, I've known people who've done it.

I haven't before solicited comments on my blog, but I'm going to try it out. I'd really love to hear from people who've "changed lives":
  • How did you know it was time to move on?
  • How did you go about doing it?
  • What was it like to do something new?
  • How do you feel about it now?
There are so many reasons for despair in our world, and there are so many reasons for hope. Which stories would you rather hear?

In Gassho,