Although I am always writing, it has been a while since I wrote a blog post. Turning fifty has caused me to want to reorganize my life, rebrand my work, and reprioritize myself. This process has been a daily tweaking of ideas, pinpointing what needs to be unlearned and then executing the unlearning. I believe there is something to turning a half-century old during this pandemic. Fifty is considered a milestone, so most people want to do it big, but big has become relative at the moment we find ourselves in. Given all that we have gone through, lost, and survived, just being while still becoming is the celebration. I woke up on the day I was writing this with a lot on my mind. As I pondered recent conversations and my own challenges, the thought that dropped in my spirit is that what many of us are experiencing feels like unraveling.
I am a words person, so when I look at the meaning of unraveling, it says that it is the undoing or untangling of something. Also, it is the straightening out or separating of things. These definitions held up against the activities of the last eighteen months begin to explain a lot about what often seems unexplainable. Whether because of this global disturbance and/or personal struggles, our understanding of what we thought we knew is being challenged. When people are forced to do hard things, who they really are will emerge. You can only pretend for so long before your need for self-work is revealed. Quarantine and little movement removed our ability to hide behind the hustle and bustle of life. And even for churchgoers like me, the use of religion as a facade of being ok disappeared. Who will you be without all of the things and activities you used to define who you were?
I hear this word unraveling, and initially, it seems like it is some sort of deficiency. But as I contemplate its meanings, I see its potency and begin to embrace it. For too long, almost fifty years to be exact, I have allowed myself to be entangled in and sometimes strangled by others’ ideas about who I should be. The projection of often well-meaning people can be stifling to the point of being heavy when you have been conditioned to believe that it is yours to carry. Being made to feel that you are someone’s do-over, rescuer, doormat, or supporting character in the narrative of their life is not only exhausting, but it is also demoralizing. When I look back over my own life, I can see where I have been guilty of doing some projecting of my own. I thank God for my willingness to do my own work to identify these behaviors and make an effort to eradicate them.
What I have also learned about what I am now calling my unraveling is that people who need you to be who you have always been will struggle with you no longer wanting to engage in these counterproductive behaviors. You can’t change other people. The work of transformation is a personal journey. We must allow people to be who they are, where they are, without feeling the need to stop our own growth waiting for them to get it. No matter where you are on this journey, you must learn to be comfortable, knowing life is about evolving. You are not meant to stay the same person. Your becoming will align with your journey, and your journey will cause you to travel to new levels. Don’t be afraid of change. Don’t be afraid of your journey. And don’t be afraid to unravel. It is your unraveling that will ultimately get you to your next chapter. And your next chapter is always your best one!