A Look From Brook

Pastor Brook has written some insightful reflections on living Christ into the world.  Check them out here!

Learning to Catch our Second Breath

I’ve been reading Richard Rohr’s book called “Falling Upwards”.  In the book he shares that there are two halves of life.  The first half is all about creating our bucket and filling it up.  It’s about doing the things in life that make life successful.  For those of us who are called to have a family, that is what it is about.  Buying a house, getting our kids in the right schools, helping our children grow to maturity, and sending them off into the world.  Not all of us are called to that.  For others of us it is about getting connected to the right career or careers.  Finding significant ways to make an impact in the world.  Etc.  According to Rohr, most of the first half of our life is pre-occupied with this.  It takes most or all of our energy to be successful in that arena.

But then comes the second part of this life.  It’s the time in our life when we realize that this bucket we have been working so hard to create and fill up, isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It just isn’t enough.  There’s something deep in our soul that keeps whispering, “There must be more.”  This realization  often comes to us sometimes we realize that the ladder we have been climbing up all of our life has been leaning up against the wrong wall! 

This realization, or “waking up”, often only happens after a hard fall.  There is something about the human mind that is totally oblivious to this “other way” until we’ve taken a severe tumble.  For some of us this is an illness, or a dramatic event like getting fired, or going through a divorce.

Rohr goes on to say that this fall often turns us towards another way of thinking and doing and being…one where we are much more concerned about living a life with meaning then filling our bucket up with the right things.  It’s after this “fall” that many of us begin a more serious path towards the sacred…towards God.   This doesn’t mean that the first half of life doesn’t have religious components.  It does.  But those components are often about following the religious rules and keeping oneself clean and on the right path.

Rohr believes that most of what Jesus is trying to speak about, concerns this “second” half of life.  When he talks to Nicodemus in the middle of the night and refers to being “born again or from above”, Jesus is talking about this transition from living life in the first half, to living life in the second half of our life.   

I find this interesting.  Particularly in the context of what we have just come out of…this pandemic!  My thought is that this pandemic has been an incredible “falling” moment for many of us. The bucket we have been working on has been severely shaken and many of us are pondering just what wall our ladder has been leaning on. 

I see this as a good thing! As hard as this moment is for all of us, I see this moment as a great opportunity help ourselves and others make this transition.   As people of faith, we have been speaking about that “other wall” for a long time.  We have been speaking about a different way to live life.  We understand Jesus’ call to fish on the other side of the boat! Could this be our time to truly share that message and help people find a way to “fall upwards”, instead of “off”?

Jesus helps us find our second breath…can we help folks find it too!

Your friend and pastor, trying to learn how God can help me fall upwards, Brook