“Midlife” (Grace Revisited)

MidlifeGrace

(Photo Credit: Uploaded by Kalaskai)

(I wrote the piece below in June of 2009, at the earliest rays of a new dawn for me.  It was one of my very few scattered attempts to write, before I established this blog at the end of last summer.  It is significant to me because I remember sitting down to write it, very calm and resolved for the first time in decades.  It was as if I blew a whistle in a storm, and the swirling moved away from me, and with utter respectful tranquility, allowed me to speak from a place both deep inside and beyond the horizon.

It was originally written in paragraph form, but I’ve rearranged its movement down the page.)

“MIDLIFE”

So this is what it is like.

One day, you wake up
and you assess your position in life because
the dust storm has died down
and the demons have tired away
and you have a breath in time to stop.

Then, without warning, you realize that
you didn’t accomplish what you wanted,
you didn’t get what you deserved,
and you don’t know what you want to be when you grow on.

You look around and you didn’t get to
have the house you dreamed
you would give to your darling children,
who have been there in the dark with you
and saved
all your lives
with the kind of light that the world desperately needs,

who deserved beautiful, bright rooms,
and a generous yard with lush grass
and strong trees
to move their memories through.

You find yourself exhausted and aching from a back
cracked in two from over-bending in ways
unseen and resulting in symptoms
misunderstood.

You remember the minds you’ve read
of individuals living in the twilight zone
of prosperity
and ignorance
and certain meanness.

You can’t help but wonder,
Did I do the right thing?
Did I teach my children to be kind and polite, thoughtful and giving,
so that they can be devoured
by the new generation of wolves?

In a panic, you turn to
your best friend from when you were untouched,
your soldier friends from when you were being touched,
and angel friends from when you could no longer feel.

These are the ones who have never judged you
for being surrounded by darkness—
conflict, trauma, dismay–
when you had nothing to give them
but tears, lament,
for their friendship.

You start to realize that w/out this shaking and tossing,
these gems in your life would not have surfaced through the sift!

They are the ones who see you and care for you
truly,
who get you
and are worth getting from you
the kinds of things that an earnest heart yearns:
links of Humanity–kindness, friendship, love–
to result in the main thing for which people strive
in so many different ways
in hopes to achieve:
Joy.

In this realization,
your fears also dissipate,
because you know you will be alright,
come what may,
and that despite the betrayals, the cruel things
that your kindness has allowed into your life,
it was not all in vain.”

Grace be with you.  ~Yazminh

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9 thoughts on ““Midlife” (Grace Revisited)

  1. Nicely put, Yazminh. Well thought. At one point in life I have figured that I have achieved many things in life that many people only dream of yet I wasn’t able to answer a simple questions: What do you want? After I’ve answered it (and it took me a while) my life got another dimension.

    • Thanks for commenting, Mark. For me, I knew what I wanted but was trying to keep my head above water, and could not focus on efforts to achieve any of those things. Boundaries were a big thing I had not learned to master yet. (But eventually did, as my last article, “Why I Divorced my Best Friend of 25 Years” was in big part about.)

      Regardless, adversity reveals other graces that only going through the fire can produce. If we can get through it, we can begin anew, and ultimately have it all.

  2. Beautiful poem Yazminh! Resonates with me over here in mid life as a parent. I love the lines “these gems in your life would not have surfaced through the sift!” “the demons have tired away” and “you don’t know what you want to be when you grow on.”

  3. Pingback: Zero to Hero Day 27: Revisit a task and a post | The Dragon's Lair

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