December 19, 2022 • Third Third Journal
I recently read a new book by Richard and Leona Bergstrom. EMERGING! Boomers Speak Out About Life in and Beyond the Pandemic gives voice to the diverse experiences of people in the third third of life as they reflect on ways that COVID-19 affected their lives for bad, for good, and for much that’s a little of both.
This is not just a random collection of stories, however. Rather, Richard and Leona have woven over a dozen stories into their own wise reflections on the pandemic and its impact on Baby Boomers (people 58-76 years of age). You can get a good idea of their perspective from the table of contents:
Part 1: Disorder – Disillusioning, Discombobulating, Dismantling, Demolishing, Disrupting, Detaching, Disengaging, Diversifying
Part 2: Reorder – Rebuilding, Re-engaging, Reconsidering, Re-igniting, Restarting, Renewing
Part 3: Order – Re-creating, Reveling
[Confession: I love any book that uses the word “discombobulating”!]
This book is not simply a thoughtful study of how the pandemic impacted folks in the third third, however. It is also an invitation to you to reflect on what you have experienced and learned in the last three years. EMERGING! will encourage you to come out of the pandemic with greater wisdom, self-awareness, and purpose.
In my endorsement of this book, I admitted that there’s a part of me that wants COVID-19 to be a thing of the past so I can get back to “normal,” as if that were possible. But in EMERGING! the Bergstroms show that the healthy way forward doesn’t mean forgetting the losses and lessons of the pandemic. Rather, by hearing the diverse, heartfelt stories of Boomers as they share what happened in their lives because of COVID-19, we are invited to reflect upon and learn from our own experiences, both the painful and the promising.
I should note here that Richard and Leona are friends and partners in the crucial work of helping people in the third third of life to flourish. They have been with me from the beginning. In October 2020 they were my guests on my first third third webinar, The Power of Purpose in a Pandemic. I have learned much from the Bergstroms through their writings and newsletters, as well as from our many conversations. I’d encourage you to check out their website, Re-ignite, as well as to purchase their latest book, EMERGING!.
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.