Week One: A Different Kind of Fall
In Falling Upward, Richard Rohr provides the metaphor of “falling” in order to describe the process of “dying” and rising in the two halves of life. Perhaps the idea of falling appeals to us a bit more than dying.
Rohr suggests that we spend the first half of life establishing an identity and the second of half of life filling that identity or putting it to use.
I would add that most people I know go through their 20’s with a deep, abiding fear of the future. They don’t want to fail. They don’t want to go off track from the path to success and security. They want to know that they are OK and that God is real. In the midst of this anxiety, they either tend to become defensive/reactive or they just give up on all things spiritual. Rohr’s book can help navigate both this season the fall out that it has left with those of us beyond our 20’s.
If anything, Falling Upward will assure you that you’re not crazy and that the pain and failure you fear the most can actually help you let go of what you cannot control and enter into a deeper sense of God’s presence.
Here are a few quotes about Rohr’s idea of “falling”:
If there is such a thing as human perfection, it seems to emerge precisely from how we handle the imperfection that is everywhere, especially our own. What a clever place for God to hide holiness, so that only the humble and earnest will find it! A “perfect” person ends up being one who can consciously forgive and include imperfection rather than one who thinks he or she is totally above and beyond imperfection.
By denying their pain, avoiding the necessary falling, many have kept themselves from their own spiritual depths—and therefore have been kept from their own spiritual heights.
When you are in the first half of life, you cannot see any kind of failing or dying as even possible, much less as necessary or good.
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.
How does the fear of failure show up in your life today?
How can God meet you in your fear today?