Our friend Melinda Schmidt shared this quote from Sister Joan Chittister’s book Folloiwng The Path. We thought it might encourage some of you today:
We like to think that the young are restless to grow up; we fail to realize that the middle-aged are restless about it, too. But where the young are growing out of themselves to a call that beckons from beyond them, the middle-aged are growing down now, into the depths of themselves where the call is waiting to be rethought, reassessed, fulfilled. Life just goes on demanding new life from us all the time.
So what’s missing? What’s missing is the passion and the purpose that brought us to this point. What’s missing is our dedication to something other than ourselves. Zoning out, taking what was once a greatest urgency for granted now it’s one thing. But settling in is entirely another. Nothing we are now – an Olympic swimmer, the chair of the board, the owner of the bank, the employee of the year, the parent of the valedictorian – will be in ten more years what it is now. When those things go, what will we be then? What will freshen the life of the heart then? The message is clear: we must each be more at all times than what we are at any given time.
The secret to life is a willingness to grow into something that is beyond our present. In middle age we must be prepared to begin again. One stage of our life work is over now, but there is so much yet to be done, and our obligation as a human being is to be an ongoing part of doing it.
Growth is the sloughing off of the past in order to become something we never expected was possible in the stage of life before it. Whatever of our first stage of commitment has been exhausted, the call to purpose and passion goes on. And so, therefore, must we. The answer to that call in middle-age is the genus of the happy life.