I wrote the following poem two years ago in response to Joyce Rupp’s Dear Heart Come Home: The Path of Midlife Spirituality. She says that midlife beckons us inward, to our depths where we come home to our “truest Self.” Much of my midlife journey revolves around letting go of the “Self” I thought I was and learning to just be present in each moment as life unfolds.

be faithful to the present moment

Midlife “crises” of all sorts invite us to let go: shed layers of identity along with jobs, relationships and possessions that no longer fit who we are discovering ourselves to be. Divorce, job loss, the proverbial “empty nest”, illness in ourselves or loved ones each become thresholds into the inner life where we discover a more authentic version of who we thought we were.  What appears as a crisis on the front end can become an opportunity if we choose to listen to our lives.

My friend Betsy is doing the hard work of listening to her life and sharing her discoveries through her blog. Her writings inspired me to pull my midlife poem out and share it here. I offer it with the prayer that regardless of your current stage of life, you will allow the obstacles and challenges of your life to become opportunities to deepen your connection to your innermost being–that place where you know you were born from love, made for love and that nothing you do can make your more lovable or less lovable.

Love is our truest Self.

My Midlife Soul – A Response to Joyce Rupp’s Dear Heart Come Home

She told me to toss away the old map.

She said it’s of no use where I’m going.

She says I must learn to travel by the stars that shine in the shadowy places within.

Maps charted by other’s travels no longer suffice.

Broad open roads that lead to a good life, a happy, successful life–now dead ends offering comfort and ease but going nowhere meaningful.

Those routes partially taken–directives for a productive, busy life that belonged to another season–also dead ends now.

The old maps fade as the fires of midlife burn away the dross of the self I thought I was, of the self I grasp backwards to remember, of the self I keep trying to resurrect along with remnants of borrowed dreams.

How will I ever find my way?

A light pierces the thick fog, beckoning me to come and see.

A song whispers of joy amidst suffering, of blessings born of ashes.

I join hands with the One who told me to toss the old maps away.

I will walk deeper into the dark of my night. I will wait for the stars, trust their guidance, and let their light be enough for me.”**

By Cissy Brady-Rogers, January 2012, with thanks to Joyce Rupp

**From Dear Heart Come Home, by Joyce Rupp