When The Heart Waits: Chapter 4

“Without maps and signposts, people search for their inner home in the wrong places: in professional success, material status, institutions, person, pleasure, and on and on. But none of these can be home. We end up spiritual refugees.” – Sue Monk Kidd

I’m blogging through Sue Monk Kidd’s 1990 book on midlife transition, When The Heart Waits: Spiritual Direction For Life’s Sacred Questions. (Click here for earlier posts in the series.) Chapter 4 is called “Crisis As Opportunity”, which sounds like a business school pep talk. Instead, Kidd situates her observations about midlife in the natural world. Think of the process of transformation by which a larva becomes a cocoon and a cocoon becomes a butterfly. She writes, “…there’s first a movement of separation, then a holding environment where transformation happens, and finally an emergence into a new existence.”

She describes the nature of this transformation via a series of crises in the prophet Jonah’s life. She references Erik Eriksen’s eight stages of life development and notes that it takes crisis, then resolution in order to progress/mature from one stage to the next. Another pressure point that draws us into crisis include an intrusive event like illness, divorce, unemployment or death of a relative or close friend.

In addition, she notes that our own internal world can force us into crisis. “An internal uprising could be as a vague sense of restlessness, some floating disenchantment, a whispering but relentless voice that says, There has to be more than this. Why are you doing what you’re doing?” Internal uprising might also include exhaustion, burnout, addiction or a crisis of faith. [Read more]

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