LIVING A WHOLE LIFE
In order to arrive at the second half of life, one has to realize there is an incurable wound at the heart of everything. Much of the conflict from the age of twenty-five to sixty-five is just trying to figure this out and then to truly accept it. A Swiss theologian, Hans Urs Von Balthasar (1905-1988), said toward the end of his life: “All great thought springs from a conflict between two eventual insights: 1) The wound which we find at the heart of everything is finally incurable. 2) Yet we are necessarily and still driven to try.” (Think about that for an hour or so!)
Our largely unsuccessful efforts of the first half of life are themselves the training ground for all virtue and growth in holiness. This “wound at the heart of life” shows itself in many ways, but your holding and “suffering” of this tragic wound, your persistent but failed attempts to heal it, your final surrender to it, will ironically make you into a wise and holy person. It will make you patient, loving, hopeful, expansive, faithful, and compassionate—which is precisely the second half of life wisdom.
Richard Rohr: Adapted from Loving the Two Halves of Life: The Further Journey
(CD/DVD/MP3). See also Fr. Richard’s latest book,
Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life