The Second Act
I’m in the second Act of my life and I must admit I’m loving it.
Who would have thought!
I wasn’t prepared for the transition. For those of us who have birthed babies we know know how impossible it is to be fully prepared for transitions. How can you articulate the pain? The intensity! The wondering if you will live another day!
Transitioning from the first Act of life to the second Act of life was painful. The body has a mind of its own and nothing prepares you for the intensity of emotions.
Events long forgotten began to make appearances. Injustice, experiences of gender inequity, hurt and shame which I thought had been addressed came back with a vengeance.
The pain of what wasn’t in my hand was intense.
We don’t get to the second act without experiencing the heartbreak of a life which didn’t all go according to plan. Lore Ferguson Willbert describes it as, “the given life not the chosen life.”
The intensity of the anger was so intense, so deep. It was hard to do what girls are trained to do and cover over, make the peace, swallow back and not express full agency.
How do you articulate the impact of gender inequity to a male culture?
How do you describe our culture’s desire to push you towards invisibility?
How do you describe the pain of an empty hand?
When grief knocks on your door where do you run? It’s knock is incessant.
It must be answered but in the answering it changes you, leaving a mark on your soul.
It can feel unhealthy, but maybe just maybe, it’s all part of birth and the birthing of a sacred Act 2.
They say our 50’s, 60’s and 70’s are our most impactful years. In this space of transition I felt cocooned by the Holy Spirit, held close.
Just like when we go into labor, the promise of the transition is new birth! This transition I found to also be about a new birth! A new way of being in the world which was richer and fuller. The transition is a call to wake up. That our previous way of doing life cannot contain all that God has for us in our second act of life.
I believe with all my heart transitioning from the first Act to the second Act is God’s gift. A way of ensuring that women do not remain invisible. It is God’s way of ensuring they they bring full agency and gentle wisdom gleaned and learned from the first act into the second act.
The second act is a sacred act.
Often it’s not what we have achieved which sets us up for a great second act of life.
It is the emptiness in our heart and our hands. The dreams which didn’t come true. The things which went dreadfully wrong and sent our world spinning.
The endless nights of questioning which caused our hearts to break and go in search of wisdom. The willingness to forgoe our own interests for the interests and needs of others. The wisdom produced in the giving and emptying of our relational self.
Our culture values masculine wisdom which looks and sounds like hustle and productivity, ego and achievement. This has little in common with a woman’s world.
The wisdom women have gleaned is wisdom which can build healthy people, creating healthy communities.
Jean Baker Miller writes, ” Women’s relational sense of self, ‘contains the possibilities for an entirely different ( and more advanced ) approach to living and functioning…( in which ) affiliation is valued as highly as or more highly than self enhancement.”
In this space the divine calls us in the second Act of our life to build healthy individuals and communities.
I watch women who have accepted the calling of the second act and they are subversives, building healthy people, healthy communities using the power of wisdom and intimacy.
The Second Act is one of our greatest Acts.
Don’t miss it!