An old Albert Brooks film has been rattling around in my head of late: Defending Your Life. You may recall it. A divorced advertising exec fiddles with the CD player in his brand new BMW and plows into a city bus, only to find himself in Judgment City, where he has to account for himself in a jury trial in which the evidence consists of episodes from his life. The worst possible result isn’t exactly hell; it’s being sent back to earth for another attempt, rather than moving forward to a better planet and a better life.
In the version of the film playing in my head, the judges, prosecutor, and defender all bear a striking resemblance to… me. Now that I have arrived at that mid-way point of which Dante speaks, I find myself looking back, trying to figure out exactly how I got here. I may not be quite as lost as Dante’s pilgrim in the dark wood, but I am beginning to realize one thing–just how wrong I’ve been in thinking I always knew what I was doing. The conscious choices I made now appear to me more like the iceberg’s tip. The greater mass–my deeper self–has been below the surface, moved by currents of which I am only now becoming aware.