It’s been a while since I posted anything, but I’m back! The weeks after Canadian Boomerfest found me busy catching up on visitation on the pastoral charge and getting ready for Advent and Christmas. Along the way there was some time for fun and a much needed break in late October, when Richard and I headed to Italy for ten days. There we enjoyed the historic sites of the eternal city of Rome, toured the ancient ruins of Pompeii, and visited lovely Ortona on the Adriatic, where my father fought in World War II. Rounding out our trip was a visit to beautiful Florence and the scenic hills of Tuscany.
One of our favourite places was the Academia Gallery in Florence, where Michelangelo’s famous statue of David is housed. On the way into that gallery, we were shown his “Four Slaves or Prisoners”. These are some of his unfinished works. When you look at them, they seem to be writhing and struggling to burst out of the stone. Michelangelo is famous for saying that he worked to liberate the forms imprisoned in the marble. He saw his job as simply removing what was extraneous.
I sometimes think that this is our task in the second half of life: to remove everything that is extraneous to our lives. For this reason, whenever I lead groups on second half of life spirituality, I often ask people to think about one thing that they would let go of in this period of life, and one thing that they would wish to keep. In Ephesians 2:10, the writer says, “You are God’s masterpiece.”
Well, Michelangelo laboured for days on end without sleep to free his sculptures from their stone prisons. And it’s going to take us some time to work with God at chiseling away those things that really hold us captive and prevent us from becoming the full human beings God calls us to be. For a lot of us, and for much of our lives, we had to spend a lot of time building a home or a career, with endless meetings and activities, and now there comes the freedom to chip away the excess or all the stuff that weighs us down or gets in the way of our true calling.
As we approach the coming New Year, I invite you to think about those things you would like to let go of in the second half of your life, as well as those things you want to keep. I think you will find it a liberating exercise, one that frees you to become the person God calls you to be. May God bless you in the coming New Year and always!