It is when we begin to pay attention, and seek integrity precisely in the task within the task that we begin to move from the first to the second half of our own lives. Integrity largely has to do with purifying our intentions and a growing honesty about our actual motives. It is hard work. Most often we don’t pay attention to that inner task until we have had some kind of all or failure in our outer tasks. This pattern is invariably true for reasons I have yet to fathom.
Life, if we are honest about it, is made up of many failings and fallings, amidst all of our hopeful growing and achieving. Those failings and fallings must be there for a purpose, a purpose that neither culture nor church has fully understood. Most of us find all failure bewildering, but it does not have to be. My observations tell me that if we can clarify the common sequencing, staging, and direction of life’s arc a bit more, many practical questions and dilemmas will be resolved. That doesn’t mean we can avoid the journey itself. Each of us still has to walk it for ourselves before we get the big picture of human life.
From “Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life” by Richard Rohr