In her book, Becoming Sage: Cultivating Meaning, Purpose, and Spirituality in Midlife, Michelle Van Loon takes a look at what it means to age, to go through midlife, and experience new growth.
Yes, new growth. She refreshingly reminds us that this aging process, this season of life, can be the very beginning of new growth and opportunities. Every stage of life is meant to bring about maturity, spiritual maturity:
"Maturity isn't a fixed destination but describes a process of growth in Christlikeness in every area of life, through every season of life. It is marked by an ongoing increase in self-giving love modeled in the ministry of Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is a generative, generous existence marked by ongoing ripening of the fruit of the Spirit and a steady increase in godly wisdom. By definition, this kind of wisdom saturates our hearts, souls, minds, and strength." (from page 27)
Each stage of life is the very process by which we become whole. She breaks life down into six stages for us, recognizing we all do not move through the stages by our chronological age but by our experiences and desire to grow. Some may progress through the stages, while others may get stuck in a stage.
Becoming Sage brings wisdom on such topics as: our involvement in our local church; our changing family dynamics; friendships; our aging bodies; financial decisions; emotional and spiritual health; and vocations.
Each chapter is rich with thoughts, closing with questions for individual reflection and group conversation.
There are no prescribed steps to becoming sage, as the process is unique for each of us. Drawing from the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, we are reminded:
"Maturity is forged from the beautiful and terrible and mundane stuff of our lives as we seek to crawl, stand, walk, and run with Jesus on our way to Real." (from page 181)
The book was both a comfort and an encouragement.
*I was provided a copy of this book by Moody Publishers. All opinions are honest and my own.