Taking the Long View

Taking The Long-View Perspective on an Often-Frustrating, Often-Disappointing Mortal “Second Act” 

By Ken K. Gourdin 

I was deeply touched by this video (link last accessed July 11, 2014), and it sparked the reflections below: 


There are three states of which we ought to remain aware so as to not lose our perspective in this Second Act: there is what was; we are not the product of accidental chance.  As fascinating as our anatomy and biology are, spiritually speaking, we came from somewhere, where a First Act took place.  Our being – our essence – is more than a mere collection of cells, or the mere result of biological materials and processes.  As Wordsworth put it, “Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar: Not in entire forgetfulness, And not in utter nakedness, But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home[.]”1 

This is our Second Act.  We are not mere mortal beings placed on earth simply to have occasional spiritual experiences; rather, we are essentially spiritual beings placed on earth to have a mortal experience.  But there’s no escaping the truth: this mortal experience often is frustrating, disappointing, and unfulfilling.  In mortality, so many things conspire to thwart what otherwise might be – “In the world, ye shall have tribulation.”   The good news is that thwarted hopes and expectations of mortality need not be the end of the story – “[B]ut be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”2 

It’s interesting that we get a glimpse at the beginning and the end of the video, respectively, at the picture of the man and his wife in better (or at least in easier) times: the first is a glimpse of what was (perhaps-better, or at least easier, times past); and the second is a glimpse of what will be (a Third Act: better times to come, through Christ – “Be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.”)  

And of course, we can tell in his face when this man looks at his wife, he doesn’t see his wife as she is, but rather as she was – and as she will be, again.  So he doesn’t “count the cost” of present difficulties: such a cost is a privilege to pay.  As it was and will be for this man and his wife, so it was and will be for us: if we endure well our too-often frustrating, too-often disappointing present, at length, we, too, will “overcome the world,” even with all of its frustrations and disappointments, and God “will exalt [us] on high, and [we shall] triumph over all [our] foes.”3 



William Wordsworth (1804) “Ode: Intimations of Immortality,” accessed on line at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ode:_Intimations_of_Immortality on July 13, 2014.


The Holy Bible (1611), King James Version, John 16:33, accessed on line at https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/john/16.33?lang=eng on July 13, 2014. 


(2013) The Doctrine and Covenants, Salt Lake City, Utah: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Section 121, Verse 8, accessed on line at the following address on  July 13, 2014. https://www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/121?lang=eng


About kenngo1969

Just as others must breathe to live, I must write. I have been writing creatively almost ever since I learned to write, period! I have written fiction, book- and article-length nonfiction, award-winning poetry, news, sports, features, and op-eds. I hope, one day, to write some motivational nonfiction, a decent-selling novel, a stage play, and a screen play.
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