My last blog post introduced Bob Buford’s book, Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance.1 Buford begins his book by describing his successful career. Then, after experiencing the unexpected death of a family member, Buford describes his time of personal discovery during which he asks himself, “Is this as good as it gets?” Buford labeled that slice of time halftime because he equated it to a football coach adjusting his game plan between the first and second halves of a football game, thereby enabling the team to play their best game.
Today I began reading Bob Buford’s book, Halftime:® Moving from Success to Significance, and I’m especially curious to learn whether Buford’s book departs from or confirms the ideas put forth by Richard Rohr. As I read the preface, I anticipated that Buford’s experience might be very different.
Instead of facing a crisis as I approached middle age, I discovered that a new and better life lay before me. I called the process of discovery “halftime,” and the eventual outcome of this process led to my “second half.” The metaphor fit because, after a successful first half, I needed a break to make some changes in how I played the second. I had plenty of success over the preceding twenty years, and I wasn’t burned out or frustrated, but I felt something was missing and I needed to change my game plan. In retrospect I can see that I must have been divinely protected from chasing down the usual trails people take to find what was missing.
Compared to Rohr’s description of “a necessary suffering and humbling pain” moving people into the second half of life, Buford’s experience sounded a lot easier.
“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 1:4 | ESV).
Four Generations of Jesus Followers
“Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior” (Titus 2:3-5 | MSG).
“The Angelus” by Jean-Francois Millet, 1859, oil on canvas, location: Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France
I have always loved two of Jean-Francois Millet’s paintings: The Angelus (above) and The Gleaners (shared here). Perhaps my rural roots draw me to these portraits of people working the land. Also, I have always associated these paintings with the story of Ruth — she worked as a gleaner and later Boaz noticed her working in his field.
The Angelus depicts a couple pausing to pray during their potato harvest as the church bells ring from the steeple painted in the background.
This scene reminded me of author Lysa TerKeurst’s advice in chapter fifteen of Uninvited: When we pray “Thy will be done,” we trust God to redeem the pain and guide us to the help we need.
Today I listened to a rebroadcast of journalist David Brooks addressing the Aspen Ideas Festival. His thoughts fit so well into what I’m reading, so I thought you might enjoy listening to him as well.
A few days ago I mentioned that in the book Giddy Up, Eunice author Sophie Hudson chose the story of Elizabeth and Mary (Luke 1:5-56) as one illustration of women needing other women to listen, to encourage, and to pray for each other. And sometimes that woman doesn’t look at all like what we’d expect.
A few weeks ago I was longing for a quiet evening at home with my husband, simply watching our favorite Netflix shows together. I wanted to pull on my yoga pants and settle in for the night.
This summer felt too busy for a homebody like me: travel most weekends or entertaining guests in our home. I longed to return to the comfort of my usual, quieter routine.
Then I heard the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit, “It’s not time to get comfortable.”
I wondered what he meant.
Today I’m beginning a 31-day series entitled “Midlife with Purpose: Set Apart, Not Set Aside.” Each day during October I’ll be sharing a few thoughts or quotes from books I’m reading on the topic of midlife. You’ll find the introduction to the series on my web page Midlife with Purpose: 31-Day Series.
Do you agree — would you want to be younger? Does wisdom come with age?