Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life
by Richard Rohr
One of my frustrations in 31 years of professional ministry is the impact the youth movement in our culture had on the preparation and installation of leaders in ministry. Not only is pastoral ministry male dominated, it is also (in a weird way) youth oriented.
One of my frustrations with our culture is its emphasis on retirement.
As I am now in my early 60’s, one of the struggles has to do with contribution, purpose, place as an older person. But more than complaining about things I probably cannot change, I felt I needed to figure out what my life was going to look like between 60 & 90. Often our life is preparation for the ages 25-65, and after that we are put out to pasture. I feel like I am just starting to figure things out. This is where Rohr’s book Falling Upward really came in handy.
Rohr is a great source for the journey of the last half of your life. He is whimsical, straightforward in a gentle way, wise, wide, and gracious. I found his presentation in this book to hit the mark as I ponder the direction and impact I want to make in the final trimester of my life.
One of my favorite quotes from the book is: “We are the clumsy stewards of our own souls.” Falling Upward helps us to see how our lives can have impact and purpose.
Rohr divides life into two halves: “The first half of life is discovering the script, and the second half is actually writing it and owning it.” He describes the first half as a sort of container and the second half is the filling:
“The task of the first half of life is to create a proper container for one’s life and answer the first essential questions: “What makes me significant?” “How can I support myself?” and “Who will go with me?” 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.”
If you are looking for a challenging and comprehensive guide to helping you steward your soul, I recommend this book. It is not the easiest read, and you will be challenged. What that means is that you should read the book more than once. The first time for an introduction to foreign idea, the second time for comprehension, the third for apprehension – with a pen and journal for mapping out your journey.