Why am I writing this blog? What is it about?
The beautiful song “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac might summarize:
I took my love, I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
‘Til the landslide brought me down
Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?
Well, I’ve been ‘fraid of changin’
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m gettin’ older, too
As adults we try to “create” our lives. We get degrees and choose professions, seek out and marry partners and create families, establish homes, drive cars, live our routines, and develop an identity around all these things we are trying to achieve. But by middle age, that mountain we’ve built usually experiences a landslide. And when the landslide happens, how will we respond? Will we still know ourselves? Will we still be able to hold onto ourselves?
A dear friend of mine who is older once told me that life has “seasons”. At the time I was in the “season” of young kids. Now I am in season beyond, where my “children (are) older and I’m gettin older too” and I realize that I wasn’t able to “create” my life just the way I wanted. There was so much about life that I couldn’t control. There was a story I was asked to live that wasn’t written by me, rather written by “the One who has created life and death so that He may try you which of you are best in deeds…” (67:2)
Middle age is the time to grieve, and the time to, as Brene Brown says, “Rise Strong”. I have had to grieve the death of many of my hopes, dreams, expectations, and assumptions about myself and my life. I have had to process trauma that has in many ways paralyzed me. To face the change I was afraid of, the crumbling of what I thought I had “built my life around”.
And I have had to move on, past the grief, the disappointment, the trauma, and the paralysis to claim and reclaim my heart, my purpose, my identity, and my goal. To take the lessons of my life and become more whole. To walk forward WITH FAITH.
Imam Ash-Shafi’i famously wrote:
Indeed, Allah has intelligent Servants / They divorced the dunya and feared fitnah
They looked into it and when they beheld / That it is not a homeland for the one who is Alive
They took it as a deep sea and took / Good deeds in it as their ship
The landslide came and I took to the sea. Join me and my companions on this journey.