Richard Rohr – The First Half of Life 1 – Container and Contents

The task of the first half of life is to create a proper container for your life and answer the first essential questions: “What makes me significant?” “How can I support myself?” and probably “Who will I go with?”

The task of the second half of life is, quite simply, to find the actual contents that this container was meant to hold and deliver. The container is not an end in itself, but exists for the sake of your deeper and fullest life, which you largely do not know about yourself! How could you? You have not been there yet.

The two halves of life are cumulative and sequential, and both are very necessary. You cannot do a nonstop flight to the second half of life by reading about it. Grace must and will edge you forward. Only you can do your own journey; no one can do it for you. If you try to skip the first journey, you will never see its real necessity and also its limitations; you will never know why this first container must fail you, the wonderful fullness of the second half of the journey, and the relationship between the two.

Once a person has transcended and included the earlier stages, he or she is able to have a patient understanding of the “juniors” on the first part of the journey, because “I was there once!” That is precisely what makes such people elders. Higher stages of consciousness always empathetically include the lower, or they are not higher stages!

Adapted from Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, pp. 1-3

Gateway to Silence:
Receive and reflect

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

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