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A Time To Seek: Meaning, Purpose, and Spirituality at Midlife
With wisdom, reverence, and grace, Susan Pohlman delivers a lyrical meditation on midlife and motherhood while traveling the cobblestoned streets of Florence, Genoa, and Rome. A Time to Seek is a must for those navigating the empty nest or a period of personal transition. As the journey through Italy unfolds, Pohlman shares how travel moments can be used as opportunities for contemplation and spiritual growth. Various settings stir feelings and issues that speak to the concerns and hidden fears of everyday women. A climb to the top of the Duomo in Florence inspires a discussion on faith, the expansive view from the Piazza di Michelangelo broadens perspective, helping her daughter settle into an apartment for a semester abroad raises fears about letting go, and trips on the train become metaphors for life’s journeys. A return to the beautiful coastal village of Nervi, the setting of her first book, Halfway to Each Other, prompts deeper introspection about love, marriage and the passing of time. And finally, an evening tour of St. Peter’s Basilica provides the insight to take all of the trip’s lessons and make sense of them in a way that brings peace and a sense of excitement for the next chapter of life.
Pohlman (Halfway to Each Other) shares in this elegant memoir the spiritual insights she gleaned while traveling through Italy. The author went to Italy with her daughter, who was to spend her semester abroad there. After getting her daughter set up in an apartment, Pohlman headed out on her own to “explore new territory.” Pohlman contemplates how God’s presence gave her the courage to embark on solo trips to religious sites such as the Basilica di Santa Croce in Florence and Pazzi Chapel in Vatican City. A trip to Genoa-Nervi, where Pohlman briefly lived with her husband years before to rekindle the passion of their marriage, provides the most moving material: “What I have missed most was the state of grace that surrounded our couple-hood here, when we admitted our fragility to each other and surrendered to God’s lead.” Ultimately, these places of worship brought Pohlman a sense of comfort within the “indefinable weight of midlife”: “My fears and my truths commingled in awkwardly worded prayer and in pregnant silences that revealed more than my words could communicate.” Any spiritual seeker will find pleasure in Pohlman’s quiet peregrinations and constant choice to “squeeze the life out of each moment with which we are blessed.” (Self-published)