“Once upon a time you trusted yourself,” wrote Sarah Ban Breathnach in her day book, “Simple Abundance.”
“Trusted yourself.” You trusted yourself.
“Trusted yourself.” To know that you like peanut butter and banana sandwiches rather than peanut butter and mayonnaise. Trusted yourself to know that it was worth trying steamed broccoli, rather than the mushy, green, butter-soaked stuff. Trusted yourself enough to know that the person everyone wanted to be around was someone you needed to steer clear of. Trusted yourself so that you knew you needed to leave this small town ... or return to it ... or remain part of it always.
Once upon a time, you trusted someone else. Maybe it was a Geppetto father figure, a blue faerie or a Jiminy Cricket. On the other hand, perhaps, you met a Candlewick or Fox. Could it have been that, in trusting someone else, who either intended good or harm, you ended up in a place that took you from yourself?
Or could it be that life simply happened? You did the best you could, Kind Reader, in each successive moment, to live, thrive, survive? Could it be that you, yes, you, loved the best way you knew how?
“Once upon a time you trusted yourself.”
At some point along life’s journey, the notion of a “midlife crisis” came into my awareness. Perhaps it was the trope of a balding fellow buying a red convertible. He drives around with the top down while the music of his youth blares from speakers insufficient to reverse the aging process.
Midlife may strike terror in many a heart. You have seen it ... or felt it ... the dread that hits as one moves from a decade into another. It can trigger a deep grief or depression. On the other hand, it can be a turning point of discovering a meaningful way.
Or maybe it was the loss of saints and beloveds in your life? The moving away. The near-death. The terrifying diagnosis. In that moment, you realized that you need crucially to return to your center to trust you.
“Once upon a time you trusted yourself … try to contact the girl you once were. She’s all grown up now. She’s your authentic self.” While some of us have always known and trusted our core being, that which God grants us, others always question. It’s a moment that reverberates with light and truth to know that deep within one’s center is a self that is authentic from before your birth and grows day by day.
She has dwelt inside you, all these years, anticipating and becoming with you. As Breathnach writes, “she’s waiting to remind you how beautiful, accomplished, and extraordinary you really are.”
A crisis does not have to be destructive and shattering. It does not require betrayal of life to this point. Neither does it require one to continue to submerge one’s self into a sense of mediocrity or true suffering.
All of us are living through crisis now. Whether it is over a debate over historic structures and their preservation, or keeping bread on the table, or trying to cope as the children in our homes face their fifth quarantine in a little over 100 days of school, we face turning points. We all are living in a crisis.
Ash Wednesday comes. That message from God through the prophet Joel — “Return to me” — is as much a message for the people to their God, as it is a nation to its constitution, a community to its connections, a church to its ministries, a soul to her authentic self and her Creator.
“Once upon a time you trusted yourself.” Who are you? What is your truth? Where is your life’s journey carrying you? In what do you find meaning?
Longing to breathe deeply and to walk with others as they seek to meet their longings, C. A. Rollins writes and invites you to reflect with her at email@example.com.