May 10, 2020 – Second Mountain
A few weeks ago, in my Sunday homily I spoke about David Brooks, and his book “Second Mountain.” In his book, he describes how life is often lived on two mountains. The first mountain is most often our youthful days when we are trying to define who we are. We are climbing the mountain of career, family and maybe are looking for meaning in our life. Most often it is dominated by a quest for one’s self; one’s own identity; one’s own wealth; one’s own status in the world.
Then he says something happens and we experience a valley experience: the death of a loved one, the loss of job, a marriage break-up, a family falling apart, or some other trauma. In that valley, we rethink our life and we choose to start to climb a second mountain that is not focused on ourselves. It ends up being a mountain lived for others and it is not so much about reaching the top as it is about being on the mountain. It is less about the destination and more about the journey.
On this mountain, he says, we start to live life for others and not for ourselves. When this valley experience happens God can break in and we can move on to the second mountain. Often this second experience is far more profound than the first. The second experience is the transformational experience.
Today all of us, are in somewhat of a collective valley with this shelter-in-place and coronavirus. Now starts the second phase and so much remains unknown. It has been difficult to be at home for so long and have our place of home be repurposed to a place of work. In so many ways we are grieving the loss of our freedom, time away, our workplace, time from family & friends and our general routine. This time of grieving is collective and very difficult to overcome. We are in completely unchartered waters. It is not so much what happens to us that is going to define us but how we respond to what happens to us that will define us from here.
I am inviting you to climb the second mountain and allow this incredible moment to transform us into something far better; to redefine ourselves as a society; as a community; to transform ourselves into something far better. That will require of us to be thoughtful and prayerful; and to be deliberate about climbing the second mountain.
Some of us are already on this second mountain and have been for years. For those who are on the second mountain already, your opportunity is to become guides to us, who have not yet got on the second mountain; to guide us, to help us to navigate this mountain and journey together.
This coming Tuesday, May 12, I will begin a new series that will invite us all to think and to pray about heading onto the second mountain. This series will run for four sessions, May 12, May 14, May 19 and May 21. We will live stream each of these sessions at 9:30am and then place the recorded sessions on the website so that you can view them later. We will also schedule guided sessions each of those evenings, to allow further reflection, prayer and to pose your questions.
Please join us as we all climb this second mountain and let our God break through.
Fr. Brendan McGuire