When I say that you will enter the second half of life, I don’t mean it is a strictly chronological way. Some young people, especially those who have learned from early suffering, are already there, and some older folks are still quite childish. If you are still in the first half of your life, chronologically or spiritually, I would hope that his book will offer you some good guidance, warnings, limits, permissions, and lots of possibilities. If you are in the second half of life already, I hope that his book will at least assure you that you are not crazy – and also give you some hearty bread for your whole journey.
None of us go into our spiritual maturity completely of our own accord, or by a totally free choice. We are led by Mystery, which religious people rightly call grace. Most of us have to be cajoled or seduced into it, or we fall into it by some kind of “transgression,” believe it or not; like Jacob finding his birthright through cunning, and Esau losing his by failure (Genesis 27). Those who walk the full and entire journey are considered “called” or “chosen” in the Bible, perhaps “fated” or “destined” in world mythology and literature, but always they are the ones who have heard some deep invitation to “something more,” and set out to find it by both grace and daring. Most get little reassurance from others, or even have full confidence that they are totally right. Setting out is always a leap of faith, a risk in the deepest sense of the term, and yet an adventure too.
The familiar and the habitual are so falsely reassuring, and most of us make our homes there permanently. The new is always by definition unfamiliar and untested, so God, life, destiny, suffering have to give us a push – usually a big one – or we will not go. Someone has to make clear to us that homes are not meant to be lived in – but only to be moved out from.
From “Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life” by Richard Rohr