At a co-worker’s invitation, I attended Shabbat services this morning: a first for me. As we leave, I pull a pair of socks from my pocket and explain that I brought them in case there was a rule against bare feet in the synagogue. “There are no rules,” my friend tells me.
Walking home, I begin to wonder: What is this? (I don’t just mean socks and unfamiliar religious observances, but this ongoing transformation and my inevitable grasping for rules). What is it that nudges me to enter strange terrain? Where is this taking me?
One thing I am certain of (right now): this is bigger than anything I can comprehend (right now). William Bridges draws on the life of Odysseus who, after years of wandering, comes home to Ithaca only to encounter more messiness. He writes:
Just as we are about to reclaim the inner kingdom of selfhood, home at last from the long journey, we discover that there is no welcoming committee on the dock to meet us but that we are going to have to fight into our own rightful place.
So in the end, the homeward journey of life’s second half demands three things from us: First that we unlearn the whole style of mastering the world that we used to take us through the first half of life. Second, that we resist the longings to abandon the developmental journey and refuse the invitation to stay forever at some attractive stopping place. And third, that we recognize that it will take real effort to regain the inner “home.”
source: Bridges, W. (1980). Transitions. Addison-Wesley, p.51-2.