The cure for loneliness...

In his small treasure of a book, Falling Upwards, Richard Rohr writes that there is a difference between ego and soul needs... and the older we get the more we are called to feed the soul.

In the second half of life, all that you avoided for the sake of your ego starts coming back as a true friend and teacher. Does become thinkers, feelers become doers, thinkers become feelers, extroverts become introverts, visionaries become practical and the practical ones long for vision. We all go toward the very places we avoided for the last forty years, and our friends are amazed. Now we begin to understand why Jesus is always welcoming the outsider, the foreigner, the sinner, the wounded one. He was a second-halo-of-life man who has had the unenviable task of trying to teach and be understood by largely first-half-of-life history, church and culture.

With just 45 days left before we depart for our sabbatical, I know in a deep way why this matters so much to me. It is greater than rest - although that is essential - and it is more than a reprieve from grieving - although that is true, too. Rather, this is a time to synthesize in a focused way my growing calling to explore and share the union of contemplation and music of the soul. For most of my professional life I have been helping the institutional church reclaim its bearings: sometimes this has been through conflict resolution, at other times it has involved worship renewal and often it has insisted upon a lengthy season of discernment in search of our true mission.

Now, however, it is time for me to let the institution walk by itself as I go inward. For the first extended time in my life I am going to be able to simply worship - and do so with Dianne. Rohr notes that "there is a real loneliness" to this time. Yet "one of the great surprises is that you find that the cure for your loneliness is actually solitude!" There is still Holy Week and Easter to embrace. There are a few more institutional commitments, too. But then it is a whole quarter of a year given to contemplation. There comes a time when "the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon us...the spirit of wisdom and understanding,the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord...and our delight  shall be in the fear of the Lord." (Isaiah 11)

Comments

Peter said…
Your grieivng may well forego the respite, James. Be prepared to deepen there, as well, dear brother.
RJ said…
True indeed...

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