“Life is all about practicing for heaven.” p 101.” Richard Rohr
At my recent high school reunion the number of people who said they were retired surprised me. I suppose it makes sense that at this midlife point people are beginning to settle down. Most of my former classmates’ children are out of the home and finding their own way, lifelong jobs have provided a decent retirement, and grandchildren and care of their elderly parents are the focus of much attention. Some are wondering what to do next. Perhaps this is what some people call midlife crisis?
From time to time, I’ve had fantasies about bowing out of work, finding a little bungalow close to the beach, and ditching my IPhone for good, but the funny thing is, God just doesn’t seem to want me to settle down.
While our work may look different today, as compared to the career path we chose in our twenties, rest assure, God never lets us rest on our laurels. People talk about midlife crisis but I think the comedic actor Bill Murray has it right when he says, “ …midlife crisis is just a point where people’s careers have reached some plateau and they have to reflect on their personal relationships.”
At midlife we may consider strengthening our connections with God, others, and the world around us. After all, our God is crazy about us and wants to create deeper communication with us.
At midlife we begin to take to heart Rohr’s idea that life is all about practicing for heaven. As we practice, we have a better sense of who we are becoming and place much less emphasis on what we do. Hopefully our ego, which has a tendency to Ease God Out, softens, and keeps allowing us to change and grow. We learn over the years to allow our experiences, both joyous and challenging, to teach us something as we move forward. Rather than letting others have sway over us, we discover our own voice, and we use that voice for righteousness sake rather than negativity or destructiveness.
What better time to contemplate our relationships than during Advent? Whenever we are tempted to think it’s time to settle down, God has something planned for us. Whether it is simple or small, grand or challenging, God will be right there to see us through it. Our work is only to ask for the courage and strength to persevere in God’s plans for us.
Many readings in scripture during this season remind us about waiting and preparing. (Check out these scripture passages below). For those of us entering into midlife or beyond, the Advent season is a beautiful time to reflect on how we are using our gifts of laughter, patience, presence, service, creativity, and many others here on earth, as we practice for heaven. Use these scripture passages this week as a way to get quiet and meditate on God’s words resonating within you.
Mark 1:3, 13:33
Psalm 72:7, 145:10-11
Matthew 7:24, 10:7
Luke 1:13, 10:21
Isaiah 61:1, 35:4-8