Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Incurable Wound at the Heart of Everything

Richard Rohr is a great spiritualist and writer that my late friend and dear companion Michael Stewart introduced me to several years ago.

As I am exploring middle age, the empty nest, and the second half of life I'm discovering a new joy and a new wisdom. Richard's daily meditations are available by email, and this one particularly spoke to me today.

I do not find the sentiment depressing ... far from it. I find it liberating to know that there are wounds that only God can heal. I can't fix them. I share it with you in hopes that it blesses your day.

In order to arrive at the second half of life, one has to realize there is an incurable wound at the heart of everything. Much of the conflict from the age of twenty-five to sixty-five is just trying to figure this out and then to truly accept it. Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-1988) said toward the end of his life: “All great thought springs from a conflict between two eventual insights: (1) The wound which we find at the heart of everything is finally incurable, (2) Yet we are necessarily and still driven to try!” (Think about that for an hour or so!)

Our largely unsuccessful efforts of the first half of life are themselves the training ground for all virtue and growth in holiness. This wound at the heart of life shows itself in many ways, but your holding and “suffering” of this tragic wound, your persistent but failed attempts to heal it, and your final surrender to it, will ironically make you into a wise and holy person. It will make you patient, loving, hopeful, expansive, faithful, and compassionate—which is precisely second-half-of-life wisdom.

Adapted from Loving the Two Halves of Life: The Further Journey

If you would like to sign up for Richard's daily meditations, see this link.