This new and deeper passion is what people mean when they say, “I must do this particular thing or my life will not make sense,” or “It is no longer a choice.” Your life and your delivery system are now one, whereas before your life and your occupation seemed like two different things. Your concern is not so much to have what you love anymore, but to love what you have-right now. Richard Rohr1
In this second half of life, I now seek to feed my spirit rather than my ego. While my mind and worldview have expanded, my personal space has compressed.
Through my continual, transformative relationship with Christ, my mind is contemplative rather than dualistic. I no longer think in terms of black and white, good or bad, beauty or ugliness, right or wrong. I see life in extraordinary shades of gray. This allows me to acknowledge my own “grayness” and to abstain from condemnation of others.
While abiding in the Spirit, my sight does not focus on one narrow aspect of a human being; I am gratefully blessed by being allowed to see the entirety of a person’s experience and heart. I am also, at times, called to speak truth to power, and try to use those rare times cautiously and thoughtfully.
My relationship with God – or as Rohr calls it, divine union – overrides any need to be perfectly behaved, perfectly holy or perfectly right, which I know I can never achieve. Instead, I prefer to receive His Perfect Compassion, Perfect Grace and Perfect Love in order to strengthen and hearten my choice to be in right relationship with Him.
There is a certain real loneliness if you say yes and all your old friends are saying no. So be prepared when your old groups, friendships, and even churches no longer fully speak to you the way they used to. But one of the great surprises at this point is that you find that the cure for your loneliness is actually solitude. Richard Rohr2
Today, I belong to no groups, have few intimate friendships, and rarely attend a brick-and-mortar church. Acquiring things no longer matters to me; nor do the opinions of others. I have settled into a listening relationship with the Spirit, and I understand He lives with me and in me (Luke 17:21). I am content to be alone – in solitude – with Him.
I no longer crave to “go home to heaven” because I know I am already there, for heaven is where the Father makes His home. (John 14:2; 14:23) Christ and the Father sent the Spirit to grant me home – my respite, my peace, my comfort, my contentment – and in turn, I have granted them a dwelling place in me. And my church is wherever two or three of us are gathered in Christ’s name, whether in my home, at a restaurant or online. (Matthew 18:20)
This serenity has taken years to realize, and only with the patience and shepherding of the Trinitarian God. I still have days when I falter and wander off the path, forgetting my roots being a branch of a tree secured in lavish love and outlandish grace. But because I know the significance of my Primary, Divine Relationship, I never wander far; I have shed the shallow.
I have suffered and overcome, have been lost and found, have emptied and been filled. I now have room and space for the deep time it takes to maintain the One Relationship that truly matters.
1 ©2011 Richard Rohr, Falling Upward p. 132, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA
2 ©2011 Richard Rohr, Falling Upward p.143, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA