In her Loving the Two Halves of Life talk, author and poet Edwina Gateley tells of the secure attachment to God she experienced as a child, a result of her first-half-of-life container:
I didn’t even question that I was loved, it was like an entitlement. Well, of course, God loves us, and the church will teach us and guide us and protect us and help us to become holy. We were simply loved and secure and trusting…. God knows, God understands, God loves you with an enormous love and only wants to look upon you with that love. Quiet, still, be, let your God love you. And God was always there, even if I went out to play….
Religion, in that first stage of spiritual life, [meant] we’re safe. An eternal invitation to rest and play in love and knowing the security of God with us. We are, each of us, a bit of God, a scrap of divinity. If only we could know it, we would walk the earth in awe, eyes shining in splendor, heart suspended in delight, at the miracle of the living God gracing our days and nights…. The joy, the innocence, the energy, and the hope of childhood!
Gateley reminds us that while our experience of faith changes, God’s love remains steadfast throughout our lives:
We forget as we grow older; we leave behind the spontaneity and often the joy of our early years. And the words of Meister Eckhart, of course, ring true for us, “God is at home. It is we who have gone out for a walk.”  Out we go into the world, often looking for God and we are told, God is out there somewhere and if we do certain things and behave in certain ways, well, we might connect with God, we might glimpse a little of God. And so we try and we try to attract God’s attention and we try and we try to be good and to be faithful and to do the right thing. And often we fail and we hurt and we get disillusioned. We have forgotten: God is at home; it is indeed we who have gone out for a walk. The dance and the play are abandoned as we address the serious issues of adult life and discipleship. The faith of childhood, the innocence, is often forgotten….
But it is important for us to know that no matter how much life and circumstances may batter and bruise us on this journey of life, the God of our childhood is also the God of our adulthood and is also the God of our old age. God is faithful on this developing journey, ever seducing us along the way to remember who we are and from where we come. Who we are, the daughters and the sons of God, called to reflect the face of God in a suffering world.
 Meditations with Meister Eckhart, versions by Matthew Fox (Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Company, 1982), 15. From Meister Eckhart, Scitote, quia prope est regnum Dei (The Kingdom of God is at hand), sermon on Luke 21:31. Also translated as “God is at home in us but we are abroad.”
Adapted from Richard Rohr, Ronald Rolheiser, and Edwina Gateley, Loving the Two Halves of Life: The Further Journey (Albuquerque, NM: Center for Action and Contemplation, 2011). Available as MP3 download.
Image credit: A path from one week to the next—Benjamin Yazza, Untitled 13 and 7. Jenna Keiper, Bisti Badlands. Used with permission. Click here to enlarge image.
A hawk judges its environment for survival and eventually takes flight.
Story from Our Community:
Reading Fr. Rohr’s Daily Meditations has been an integral part of my own exploration into the “Second Half of Life.” After I devour the daily dose of spiritual wisdom, I process it with a band of friends and mentors who have come to form a weekly book group. Reading from the mystics the past two years, it is uncanny how often the Daily Meditations posts and book references tie into our discussions! Having recently struggled through a dark night of my own, the Daily Meditations have provided a fresh take on embracing suffering and realizing deep joy. —Daniel C.