Coming of age usually means growing up and leaving home. In truth, it depends on when one chooses to look back. In my fifties, I was offered a second chance.

Wisdom Builds Her House is a story about accepting God’s offer, which meant giving up my old life. I’d already given up atheism when my first marriage failed. I’d also given up fulltime parenting – my children were grown, though my relationship with my daughter remained uneasy. Now I was leaving a teaching career spanning four decades in order to pursue this new mission and to build a house with Keith, my second chance at love.

But there was a problem I hadn’t foreseen: letting go first required bringing the past to light. As I navigated the intricacies of home financing and construction – and dog training – I uncovered long buried secrets: details of a violent home invasion when I was a child, my guilt, anger, and helplessness, panic attacks beginning in adolescence, and a breakdown in college. To make sense of this new look at the past, and with Keith’s encouragement, I read the journals of the daughter he’d lost to suicide, a girl who had faced the problems I had. Her words spoke to me with unaccustomed honesty, and I began to let go of old illusions.

Crises with aging parents led to more letting go. Keith and I moved to our mountain house, adopted another dog, and joined a church. Suddenly, everything climaxed in a crisis of faith. I finally discovered what I really needed to give up to receive my second chance.


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