It was Kickoff Sunday in church today, and I went to Sunday School. I’ve gotten out of the habit of going to Sunday School, but the pastor invited me (and a whole bunch of other people) to this new class, so I went. The study centers on a book called Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, by Fr. Richard Rohr. This book says that we spend the first half of our lives creating a container and the second half filling the container; we spend the first half of our lives establishing our identity and our gifts and the second half using those things in service to God.
A review at Amazon says, “Our obsession on the first half of life is growing stronger — we care about courtship, career choice, finding a mate, establishing ourselves, and this is the subject that too many 60 year old people worry at, fantasize over, concentrate on, well past the day that they should let this half of their lives go… and think about the second half.”
I came home and made lunch, then cleaned the kitchen thoroughly while listening to The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life, by Bernard Roth. The section I heard as I scrubbed talked about how we create the meaning of anything in our lives.
Then I went back to church for a meeting, came home and had a walk, made dinner for myself and my husband, and worked on the Little Boy’s quilt. Somewhere along the way it struck me how selfish I have been recently. Whining about having to be with and concern myself with other people, making my husband’s struggles with unemployment and what to do next in his life be all about the effects on me, letting my work and my projects overwhelm my responsibilities and connections with others — that’s pretty selfish.
This is my blog, my diary, my journal, and this is certainly the place to be selfish, if I’m going to be. Human history suggests that I probably will be. But I was able to let go of the anger and self-righteousness I’ve held toward my husband. I was able to think about my kids in a less self-centered way. I’m feeling more open to the input we’ve been getting from our business coach and our Googler. I’m giving up defending myself against the demands other people make of me.
It’s good to be back in church and I value the opportunities to serve. A new opportunity has opened up there. New opportunities may be opening up at work, too.
I can still make things and read things and grow things and learn things and work on fitness; I get to enjoy myself. But I don’t think I need to be so focused on my own comfort.