The reality of Mid-Life crisis was not really new or confined to the 80’s. Note this opening line from Dante’s Inferno.
“Midway upon the journey of our life, I found myself in a dark wilderness.”
“A dark wilderness” is the best definition I have read or heard of in the years of attempting to study the terrible valley of Mid-Life crashes. Medical causes include diminished hormonal activity, physical exhaustion due to erroneously thinking the death dealing idea, “I am the only one who really cares.” Or the even worse idea promulgated by Napoleon Hill, “Nothing Matters.”
One of the books I recommended to suffering men at that time, and still do for that matter, was the world renowned small book written by a young psychiatrist who survived Hitler’s Concentration Camps. This man had married the love of his life shortly prior to being shipped to the infamous Auschwitz and later to Dachau. His wife Tilley was murdered in the gas chamber at Bergen- Belsen. From the suffering and observation in the Holocaust Viktor Frankl wrote, Man’s Search for Meaning. He recounted those who beat the Nazi tormentors, even though many died.
During some of my informal counseling to men of stature who were going through some form of Mid-Life turmoil I would ask them to read Dr. Frankl’s book, and then to choose twenty of the statements that most impacted them. I then challenged the readers to refute those statements from scripture. Dr. Frankl was an unbeliever. He said this was due to his inability to reconcile the horrors of the Holocaust with a good God. Yet the actions and attitudes he promulgated concerning survival are clearly taught in the Bible!
I used and use the principles of those who were spiritually victorious over the Holocaust Camps to help people going through an actual prison experience or a figurative one such as Mid-Life Crisis, for the Mid-Life crash is often more “real” than a prison with iron bars. A prison made up of thoughts is tougher to escape than any other kind.
Joyce, my wife of 51 years, is friends with Eva Kor. Eva and her sister were the subjects of Dr. Josef Mengele’s experiments when they were ten years of age. A few years ago Eva made international headlines when walked up to a former SS officer on trial as a guard in one of the camps. Eva hugged the man and stated that she forgave him. Frankl speaks often of forgiving. Here’s my favorite from Man’s Search for Meaning:
“The last of human freedoms - the ability to choose one's attitude in a given set of circumstances.”
“Let this mind be you which was also in Christ Jesus.” The Apostle Paul wrote this while Imprisoned.
Copyright © 2015 Larry Lilly
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