Posts Tagged ‘#midlife’

“Just linger for a moment or two” I heard myself say. “Carole, you’ve gotta learn to linger.”

Five years ago, life was different.

Our oldest daughter was preparing to her first apartment, next daughter was living at home while studying at a local university and our youngest was still in high school, where I worked. We lived in a large home, on a sizeable property that demanded of us constantly. Hubby worked nowhere near just a forty hour work week as a pastor in a local church and his job trickled down into seen and unseen responsibilities for myself. It was our first year in a few with no International students as part of our home and family.

I was tired, perpetually tired.

It seemed that I was constantly in demand, in motion. I was either cooking, or driving, or working, or weeding …

and now …

life is different.

Our oldest two daughters are out on their own, our son still mostly living at home, sometimes working out of town, currently working locally. I still work the same hours, but it’s different. Hubby no longer working over full time as a pastor, now working a couple of part time positions. We sold our large property for a townhouse close to everything.

Life is … simpler, quieter, less demanding.

But, learning to linger … it does not come natural after years of living based on the urgent. The growing pains from a life of busy to less slow are very real.

In my adjustments to this new way of life and living, I am beginning to learn to linger … but it is a learning, a process of slowing oneself down.

It means pausing to smell the flowers, to listen, to ponder, to wonder.

It also means pausing in my day and lingering in the awareness of the presence of God. To put the book, the phone, the keys down … maybe even closing my eyes, and letting God know that I know he is right there, with me.


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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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