by Jake Hall
published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 8/14/14
What is next? What is next after you have finished curating your well-constructed life? How does spirituality change over the course of a life? For many road weary disciples there comes a tipping point, a turn from constructing a well lived outer life. Meaning shifts from all of the goals of the outer life — providing for a family, establishing a career, attaining a degree, finding security — toward a different way of understanding the meaning found in the inner life.
Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest and author of Falling Upward, our August book study. His work is a meditation on growing spiritually. Rohr writes of a maturation that happens. For Rohr, in the first half of life, our task is to strengthen the outer life. During this time we follow the rules, work hard, develop firm boundaries, and tend to see things in black and white. The second half of life is about filling that container, which actually exists only so that you can take the next step of finding yourself in God. Far too many people, he writes, just keep doing repair work on the container rather filling their inner life in Christ.
You need not wait until middle age or early retirement to interpret the “second half of life.” But at some point in your life, you realize there is more. These liminal moments, at any age, help us evaluate our spiritual toolbox. Upon examination, you may find that the tools that worked in the first half of your life aren’t adequate for the second half.
Join the conversation in our August book study.