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Archive for February 11th, 2020

Brené Brown has called midlife an unraveling. Often, over the past few years, I have felt like my ball of yarn is strung from one end of my life to the other, knotted and in a such a maze that I might never get it straightened again.

Then the unraveling ends, the ball of yarn firmly in place, and one takes a deep, lung cleansing breath. It is quiet, still (maybe only for a moment, yet it is quiet). One appreciates this moment of peace, tranquility of body and mind and senses that makes one feel like they have arrived at a new place, a fresh start.

Then the inner query …

what does one do to restart when they are at the midway place of life?

a new hairstyle? perhaps more … silvery?

a new hobby? that lawn bowling we tried last summer seems age appropriate (in a dozen years or so … but it was fun)

travel to exotic destinations? (but the income has not increased, Carole … how about a trip into Vancouver or Seattle for the day?)

some go with a new lover … but I’ve just got mine trained and, well, I am rather fond of him

a new red sports car? … my red Jeep still makes me smile when I drive it … him … I always seem to refer to my Jeep as him

a new job/career? … doing what? At fifty, I am still unsure of what I want to do when I grow up!

As I ponder, I keep hearing that song from the Sound of Music, how do you solve a problem like Maria Carole? Maybe I am still unraveling after all!

Yet, I also hear,

“Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
    and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey you.”
Psalm 51:10-12

The words of King David, feeling the weight of his midlife, actually he’s feeling his midlife sin and his responsibility for the death of Uriah (and, in case you are wondering, I have not had an affair nor arranged for the death of another so as to hide it). He, perhaps more than any other, needed a fresh start and he went to the right place … his knees.

David was asking what any of us might ask of God, at midlife … for renewal, God’s presence and for grace. Hair color, travel and career choices are asides to the the heartfelt desire and need for God’s presence, renewal and grace … in all things.

Maybe, just maybe, midlife is the season for collecting that ball of yarn, strewn from hither and thither. Working out the knots, rolling it back up neatly? Organizing and making order of the mess of it. It will never look as it did before the unraveling, but it can all be collected again.

Perhaps that exercise in winding the ravelled mess into a ball will be the process through which renewal can begin … starting with the prayer,

create in me a clean heart, O God.

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Karla Sullivan

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