The goal of the second half of life, is to move from “doing” to “being.” I heard that somewhere, probably from my spiritual director. But what does it mean? It does not mean we stop doing things or that we should not enjoy doing things. But our jobs, roles and things we do no longer come to define us.
I was sitting in a small room in Mercy Center with my wise spiritual mentor and a candle burning between us to symbolize the presence of the holy. I was pondering aloud the love and care I get from the “older” saints from my previous organization.
If you’re new to this blog, let me summarize: I worked for a large Christian organization for 30+ years, but I was asked to leave over a difference in theology. It was kind of a big deal. I believe that my rainbow friends should be fully included in the body of Christ and allowed to marry; my employer disagreed and we parted ways. In retrospect, it was best for both of us!
That was almost two years ago. I keep in touch with a few of my friends from those days, the ones that are more like family, but also, there are these “older” saints I mentioned. When I say older, I mean older than I am. Most have retired or are looking at retirement from this organization.
I guess I thought they would be the ones who would try and correct me or “give me a talking to.” But it was the complete opposite. They have not changed towards me at all. They continue to include me in their lives as if nothing had happened, and their love for me remains truly unconditional and sweet. They are like the grandparent who watches their grandchild with love and amusement as the child tries on different personalities in middle school. “Ah, it’s Jacci, isn’t she the cutest thing? I just love her.”
My spiritual director linked these two thoughts for me. As we find our identity in “being” and not “doing” we become more loving and patient with others who are also trying to find their way.
People always quote Richard Rohr to me on this topic. His book Falling Upward, speaks to this idea. As we age, we can move closer to unity with Christ, and it puts everything else in its proper perspective. We worry less about who will the next president or if a football star stands for the national anthem. We can trust, listen, love and smile, knowing that others are on their path and I am on mine. It is quite freeing actually.
In full disclosure, I have not read Rohr’s new book, but it is on my short list. I did read this intriguing quote from it though:
“People who’ve had any genuine spiritual experience always know that they don’t know. They are utterly humbled before mystery. They are in awe before the abyss of it all, in wonder at eternity and depth, and a Love, which is incomprehensible to the mind.”
So that is my goal. To move toward the mystery and not get bogged down in things I can’t control. I want to love like those older saints who have been so good to me.
How about you? What lessons are you learning as you mature?