I turned 50 on Mother’s Day. 5-0. Half a century. 5 decades. For all you young people reading, you’re like 50 is o-l-d. For all you 50’s and up reading, you’re like “quit complaining.” I’m not complaining, really. It’s just a weird feeling and the 40’s did feel younger!
Jose and my friends threw me an amazing dance party at The Refuge, and it truly was the best way to ring in a new decade.
I haven’t had much time or head space to write, as I’ve been juggling the realities of May and wrapping up all kinds of things related to the Refuge transition we’ve been in and end of semester festivities (we take a Summer break for a lot of our regular gatherings). On top of that, I sometimes forget–I have 5 children still! Even though 3 of them are adults and live in different places in the USA, they still need their mommy and it’s a lot of ground to cover.
I am preparing for a good and much-needed summer break and also a significant transition for my husband, Jose, and I. Our twins, who are 17, are entering their senior year of high school in August, meaning that we are one year away from being empty-nesters. After 25 years of parenting, it’s no small thing, and we really want to make the most of out of this last precious time together.
I am going to spend the next few weeks wrapping up a few blogs I wanted to get out before the break, and then I will be on hiatus here until September 1st. I am really excited that starting July 1st I will also start blogging for Patheos on the Progressive Christian Channel. The blog is called Faith Shift and it will be solely focused on hope and healing for spiritual refugees, church burnouts, and freedom seekers . I’ll still keep blogging here, too, but am really looking forward to creating a very specific healing space for faith shifters over there as part of the channel.
Meanwhile, I wanted to reflect on the reality of 50 with 5 things that I’m learning and holding on to right now, hoping they will carry me into a new decade.
- Treasure your people. The ones who have your back, who know everything about you and love you anyway, who laugh with you, cry with you, try with you, practice with you, dance with you, tell you the truth, show up without asking, know when you’re hurting, get you. No matter how few or how many, each one is a gift, a treasure.
- Embrace transition. One of the best things I learned in my 40’s was the change model from my friend pastor Deborah Loyd. We travel through certain changes, make it through the squeeze, get to a new place and then end up in the next one. That really is the story of life and I’m learning to accept this better. As most of you know, last year the friend I planted The Refuge with stepped out of co-pastoring after 10 years together but has remained part of our community. A month ago he got clarity that it’s time to leave The Refuge and seek God’s direction for the next chapter of his story. It’s hard on a lot of levels but also a good place for me to practice embracing transition, trusting God’s wild & beautiful story and that change always shapes & forms us.
- Educate, advocate, agitate. I love these three verbs, and I hope my 50’s are filled with more of them. Well-behaved women won’t change a damn thing, and the truth is that the only way the status quo cracks is through people challenging it, practicing a better way, persisting, resisting, breaking new paths open. In a world desperate for equality & justice & healing, I refuse to be silent or stop stirring the pot. Comfortable will never get us to a new place.
- Remember, God is wild and wonderfully creative. I know this. I preach this. I believe this in the deepest part of my soul. But I need reminding of it all the time, especially when I still miss some of the certainty of my former faith. I am so grateful there are so many ways to love God and be loved by God. I love that Jesus healed in so many different ways, too. I hope my 50’s are filled with all kinds of different experiences where I see, taste, hear, smell, touch God that surprise and confound and comfort me. My simple prayer for this new chapter is: God, help me notice you…
- Just do it. Seriously, just do it. It may sound trite and way-too-typical-of-a -list-of-things-for-the-50’s, but when you’re on the downhill, you realize time is ticking and regret is always nipping at our heels if we’re not careful. My hope is to keep trying, risking, dreaming, experimenting, practicing, creating, making, doing it, whatever the “it” is. Life is too short to examine all the risks and wait for the perfect conditions.
I’ve been weepy and nostalgic and grateful and peaceful and angry and hopeful all month long. Maybe that’s #6–feel your feelings.
No matter how old you are, what’s on your list for this next season of your story?