Tuesday, July 27, 2010

re-formation

You can hear my mother's day sermon on the First Alliance Church website. I think it is easy to find. If not, call the church and get help.

So... I decided to add another blog right away so we don't dwell on the last one. Some things just need to be acknowledged and moved past.
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I wanted to comment on something that has just happened to me. Over my years this same kind of thing has happened repeatedly. Now I recognize it, which is growth.

Re-formation (being changed) happens in this simple way: the movement is from - through - to.
It happens like this: I am living in some way of thinking or being. I am not challenging myself, not really able to see any other way of living or being. Without my planning, something happens or begins to happen that disturbs and challenges that settled way of thinking or being. I become disturbed, dissonant. Then I receive an insight or aha. And suddenly find myself in a new place, across the river, in a fresh way of being and thinking.

So... back to me. :-) I share this because I want to influence some women toward health. I have tried to be honest and one such honesty is that in the last couple years I have struggled with a sense of belonging and being loved. Interestingly this feeling mostly applies to my family.

Following the simple from - through - to it happened like this:
From - I have had a busy and faithful life creating and raising the Tribe Elliott. I have been the mama!
Through - Then dissonance begins. My adult kids phone me less and less and when they are in stress I don't hear from them. I wonder if I should call them, but am unsure if I would be welcome or if my call would add another stress. I feel my age. My body betrays me. Steve and I live comfortably but not like young lovers. I wonder if he has any physical attraction to me or if I am just what is. I question whether I matter to anyone.I doubt myself. This is how I am experiencing menopause, yet another season of a woman's life when she has to become reacquainted with who she has become and achieve a new level of acceptance (and humor!) about herself.

So... in dissonance. Uncertain. Needing an aha, an insight. Well, the aha came quietly and unexpectedly when I heard an Indian man talk about how India, in choosing whether or not to place sanctions on Iran, had to consider the fact that they would be neighbors of Iran a thousand years from now. (I blogged about this a couple blogs back.)His comments really startled me, though I was unaware they pierced into my deep self.


To - I didn't know this was my aha, until a week later when I realized I was no longer feeling any struggle at all about my place in our family life. Somehow the invitation to remember my life in a long perspective, (instead of whether I am losing the 'young Marilyn' or being set aside by my kids) entirely shifted my self concept. I see further ahead, and far back, all of which was available to me but unseen because I was in a knot. Suddenly I see the richness of my life as a whole, and I am grateful, joyful and able to let the other members of my family be where they are while I go on living as well as I can.

I know that we revisit our issues, and I am not through all my menopausal turmoil, nor am I in some kind of unrealistic bliss. But somehow the deep sense of un-belonging is washed away. I have crossed the river and am confident I won't go back. At least not til the next season of my life crashes up on the shore like a rogue wave.

My advice? Pay attention and be mindful of what is happening in your life. Notice when something you depended on is being assailed. This might not be a bad thing. Watch for insights. They come from strange places. And when you are given the grace of re-formation, live into it. This is gift.

5 comments:

Christine said...

Thank you, Marilyn. I am in a "through" and slowly coming to my "to." It's a struggle. Thank you for the encouragement to see it all as a gift. I REALLY needed to hear that today.

Shepherd Snapshots said...

Thank you for this blog post.

Jess O said...

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joven said...

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Keith Jagger said...

Hey Marilyn,

Loving the way you are giving flesh to re-formation. We all need these stories to point us away from the sick spirituality of occasional practices of personal piety :)

Looking forward to your return tomorrow.

Keith