I recently finished reading Richard Rohr's book Falling Upward. I have read a number of his books and have heard him speak more than once. I even subscribe to his daily online mediations. But somehow this book had slipped by me.
I was wrestling with the age-related questions I am facing in a recent session with my spiritual director and she recommended I read Rohr's book. So I did.
The basic premise of the book is that life is essentially divided into two parts. In the first half of life we establish our own identities. We focus on performance goals. We are concerned with achieving certain things in life. As he writes, "In the first half of lie, success, security and containment--'looking good' to ourselves and others--are almost the only questions." (6) But once we reach a certain age, an age that varies from person-to-person, things start to shift. Instead of being focused on that which makes us appear to be different from others, we now focus on what we have in common. "Life," he writes, "is more participatory than assertive, and there is no need for strong or further self-definition." (120)
I think my director suggested the book because that's where the struggle is for me these days. I am working at letting go of any need to be seen as unique or different, because, in the end that leaves one disconnected from others. Like the old nursery rhyme, "the cheese stands alone."
What I am increasingly aware of is the simple reality that the truest part of me is connected to the truest part of you. And the truest parts of both of us are connected to the Holy. And that ultimately, as my mother might put it, it's all connected. Indeed, it is all One.
So hi-ho-the derry-o! The cheese doesn't stand alone. Not really!