COLUMN: Out of disorder, a new order

Columnist Jim Taylor just celebrated his 84th birthday

I had my 84th birthday earlier this week.

It’s a privilege to have lived this long.

Franciscan priest Richard Rohr has written a number of books about the process of aging. Basically, he says, the first half of life is about acquiring – possessions, wealth, friends, family. The second half is about letting go – of our acquisitions, our ideas and eventually our lives.

Recently, he’s been writing about a pattern of spirituality.

He calls it Order, Disorder and Re-Order.

In his terms, we inherit from our parents, our friends, and our social culture an understanding of the world we live in. That’s the Order. We don’t question it; we just accept it.

Then as we mature, we discover that the old Order doesn’t work as well as it should. It can be downright unfair. Life sucks; sh_t happens.

So we reject bits and pieces of what we used to take for granted. Which inevitably renders the whole old Order suspect, even if we never toss it out entirely.

And then eventually, we re-organize our lives and our understandings into a new Order – a Re-Order, in Rohr’s terms.

Once again, we know what we believe. Yes, we DO believe. We no longer drift aimlessly with the tides. Nor do we deny the reality of those tides.

I don’t think it’s just a pattern for spirituality; it’s a universal pattern for growth.

Teenagers need to rebel against their parents’ values to discover their own. Addicts have to hit bottom before they can start over.

Medical researchers must learn how much they don’t know about viruses before they can develop vaccines.

The old Order cannot see any alternatives to the way things have always been. Of course books are filed alphabetically – how else could you file them? Crayons, sorted by colour. People, slotted into stereotypes.

Then you meet someone who doesn’t match your expectations. Art lessons teach you to colour outside the lines. You realize you can live without a car after all.

Or perhaps, in Rohr’s theology, you give up believing in a God who sits on a golden throne in the sky and dispenses rewards and punishments. Heaven and hell become concepts, not destinations.

That doesn’t mean that there is no Order. It means only that you’re working your way through Disorder towards a new Order.

My Disorder phase involved identifying things I could no longer believe. About God, certainly. Also about money, power, privilege and love. In searching for a new Order, I felt obligated to challenge people who clung to unexamined assumptions.

When life expectancy was 40 years, few lived long enough to out-grow the old Order.

Those who struggled with Disorder were labelled atheists, rebels or misfits.

Very few made it to a New Order. Some did and were called mystics. Others were burned alive as heretics, a threat to the existing Order.

I now feel that I have come through enough Disorder to find a more satisfying Re-Order.

I believe far more strongly now in a divine presence within us, among us, surrounding us, than I ever did in the old Order deity I once took for granted.

And I’m profoundly grateful for living long enough to have had that opportunity.

Jim Taylor lives in Lake Country.

rewrite@shaw.ca

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

United Way celebrates seven decades of impact in Southern Interior

Organization sees issues with poverty, mental health and addictions, heighten during the pandemic

Vernon thrift shop once again accepting donations

Georgette Thrift Shop revenue funds Vernon Canadian Mental Health Association programming

Two new COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health

The total number of Interior Health cases since the beginning of the pandemic is now at 522

Engine fire snuffed quickly in Vernon

Fire crews responded to reports of a vehicle fire Friday afternoon

Okanagan artists showcase works at Vernon mall

In lieu of annual Paddlewheel Park show and sale, Okanagan Artists of Canada Society set to launch show in mall

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

Kelowna man injured during arrest sues RCMP

Supreme Court civil claim alleges Dustin Blondin was the victim of an ‘unprovoked attack’

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Parks Canada not responsible for Mount Kobau blockade

Nearby residents have been vocal about plans to turn the area into a national park

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read