Maybe it is because there is so much written about the first half of life: getting through adolescence, developing as a teenager, dating and finding the right life partner, building a marriage (or recovering from one), starting a home, finding the perfect vocation, shaping an impressive image, dealing with the get-ahead stress... Maybe it’s because we Americans have grown up with such a performance, independence, accomplishment, accumulation model.
But if the first half of life and its pursuits don’t lead to something more — something wise and eternal, something substantive and transcendent — we are destined, as so many have discovered, to spend the best years of our lives feeling empty, meaningless and unfulfilled. This shouldn’t surprise those who have tried to square our climb-the-ladder values with the words of Jesus and the less-is-more teachings of the Bible, especially the New Testament.
This is the problem powerfully addressed in Rohr’s Falling Upward. He proposes that all that seems to be important in the first half of our lives is simply building a container, a container to hold the enduring treasures that the last half of the journey is meant to discover.
Rohr believes that the longing in every person — indeed, it is the soul itself — is both for the “home” we have to leave to take the risk of the journey and the “home” to which we must eventually return, a home that is much transformed because of the persistent quest to find the deep meaning of life. “Wouldn’t it make sense that God would plant in us a desire for what God already wants to give us?”
“The goal in the sacred story,” writes Rohr, “is always to come back home, after getting the protagonist to leave home in the first place! A contradiction? A paradox? Yes, but now home has a whole new meaning, never before imagined. As always, it transcends but includes one’s initial experience of home.”
No wonder this “home” the soul drives us both to leave and to find is what the scriptures so accurately describe as the Cosmic Christ who is the alpha and omega. It is only when we exhaust ourselves in the struggle to “make a life” that we learn to lay back in Him who is at once the beginning and the end. It is in this discovery that we “ nd a life” that we can never “make.”
Falling Upward is a small book you can carry with you, but don’t be deceived by its size. It holds insights so deep, so wide, so heavy, so light that you will have to carry them in the deep places of your spirit for the rest of this life — and the next.