I have started reading Richard’s Rohr book. ‘Falling upwards’. It is a book about the two halves of our life. He writes that in the first half, we are naturally and rightly preoccupied with establishing our identities – climbing the ladder of success, achieving and performing. But those concerns will not service us, as we grow older and begin to embark on a further journey that involves challenges. Mistakes, loss of control and seek broader horizons.
In a nutshell he describes how life is like a ‘container’, and we fill the container up with possessions, items, values that we feel comfortable with, and this in turn could hinder our spiritual growth.
As we meet challenges and disappointments, we ‘fall’ down to rock bottom recognising that we do not have the resources to draw on to give us strength in our container. Mostly our container holds ‘items ‘that pander to our cultural identity, rarely to our Spiritual one.
It is only when we reach this point, can we unburden ourselves of the items from the first half of our life and fill our container with wisdom from time honoured people , spirituality , sacred texts to name but a few, and so equip us for the second half . He states we grow spiritually more by doing it wrong than by doing it right. For it is those who have ‘gone down’ are the only ones who understand ‘up’.
Reading this book, I can identify a lot about myself.
We all have faced pain, difficulties rejection, and hurt, yet it is by these wounds that we learn to be faithful people of God, and continue to tread the sometimes weary path of life and discipleship. Our painful events that make us ‘fall down’, are the stepping stones to us being a whole person. We may never see each other’s scars and wounds, but they are the ‘passport’ to the spiritual joys that await us in the second half of our life.
Jesus definitely had two halves to his life, and in the wilderness I am sure it was one of his more difficult moments, being faced with all manner of things. Yet God equipped him with many resources to fill his container up, so he could walk the path of compassion and also sacrifice, as he journeyed through Palestine to his death in Jerusalem.
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated Lord for thee,
Take my moments and my days
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
©Words from Frances Ridley Havergal