I am graduating midlife shortly (the ages of 35-60). Here are some thoughts on midlife experiences that have shaped my Christian faith journey through this. Author Lynne Baab says, “In midlife we start to look back as well as ahead wondering if we have lived the first half of our life wisely and pondering what we want to do in the second half” (Refresh: A Journal of Christian Spirituality, 2009). She suggests that there are common midlife experiences though which we live: losses, discoveries, and questions. I will only cover these briefly here.
+Loss – When I was turning 50, I experienced a string of deaths (both my parents, my aunt, and colleague) in a brief amount of time. I had shoulder surgery and weeks of recovery. It’s common to experience losses. Job issues, family crises, health problems and deaths tend to challenge faith in midlife years. And, it seems, faith can’t quite keep up with the demands.
+Discoveries – A second common midlife experience is that of new and enriching discoveries. Diana has recently completed her Bachelors degree in Nursing. She has found learning is fun.
+Questions – midlife is a time of questioning because of these losses and discoveries. Where is God? Why do I feel abandoned by my church? Why do I feel so discouraged?
Some suggest midlife is most likely whenever we start to look back wondering “did I live wisely?” and looking ahead pondering “how will this end?” Research shows that only about ten percent of people have a full-blown midlife crisis. But many more people experience the ‘messengers of midlife’: increased tears, sleeplessness, and a sense of loss that may be focused on work, family life and personal life. These messengers are a call to look deeper and to spend some time on nurturing our inner life of faith.
Now, on to what’s next – later life.
Pastor Peter J. Blank
October newsletter link: oct 2015 for website