Second Half of Life

second-half

from NextReformation by len

Old men ought to be explorers
Here and there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion

“Four Quartets,” East Coker, V. TS Eliot

The greatest and most fundamental problems
of life are fundamentally unsolvable.
They can never be solved,
but only outgrown. – Carl Jung

Richard Rohr writes,
“A journey into the second half of our own lives awaits us all. Not everybody goes there, even though all of us get older, and some of us get older than others…

“I find that many, if not most, people and institutions remain stymied in the preoccupations of the first half of life. By that I mean that most people’s concerns remain those of establishing their personal (or superior) identity, creating various boundary markers for themselves, seeking security, and perhaps linking to what seem like significant people or projects. These tasks are good to some degree and even necessary.

“But.. this first half of life task is no more than finding the starting gate. We know about this further journey from the clear and inviting voices of others who have been there.. and also, sadly, from those who never move on..

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters, yes, even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26

“As we move into the second half of life we are often at odds with our natural family and the “dominant consciousness” of our culture. many people are kept from mature faith by the pious, or rigid, expectations of the first-half-of-life family. One of the major blocks against the second journey is what we would not call the “collective,” the crowd, our society or extended family. What passes for morality or spirituality in the vast majority of people’s lives is the way everybody they grew up with thinks. It takes a huge push, much self-doubt, and some degree of separation for people to find their own soul and their own destiny apart from what Mon and Dad always wanted them to be and do. So Jesus pulls no punches, saying you must “hate” your home base in some way and make choices beyond it.

“Perhaps it has never struck you how consistently the great religious teachers and founders leave home, go on pilgrimage to far-off places, do a major turnabout, choose downward mobility; and often it is their parents, the established church of the time, and even civil authorities who fight against them….”

Rohr, Falling Upward, from the intro, and pages 81-85.

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