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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: birthday (05/23/05)

TITLE: Year of Jubilee
By Helga Doermer


In true Hollywood style, fifty may be the new thirty for women. Cosmetic surgery has made nips, tucks, liposuction and other aesthetic procedures as common as going to the dentist. Yet with the primary emphasis on the immediate and external – specifically maintaining a youthful look - the symbolic significance of turning fifty has been lost.

Biologically, the meter of the individual organism changes rhythm as one approaches fifty. The urge to mate to reproduce loses intensity as the body gives notice that it is time to stop. The responsibility of caring for offspring diminishes. As such, it can become an occasion for new beginnings. My friend called it her ‘year of jubilee’.

The Year of Jubilee in Judaic history was intended as a period of celebration, of rest, and of new beginnings. Every fiftieth year was to embrace a symbolic sacredness reflecting the relationship between a consecrated people and their covenant with God.

Considering the intent of the year of jubilee, perhaps my friend’s description of her fiftieth birthday was not so far off. Given that it is a stage of change and transition, it would seem a logical time to step back and take note of where one is, before entering into something new. With the approach of fifty, a woman can claim access to the transitional bridge of the crone years – the post-menopausal age, the third stage of a woman’s life.

Historically, crones were looked upon as the wise women of their society. They were the ones who had survived childhood, early womanhood, the childbearing years and had reached a maturity that many of their era did not. The crones were women of courage, inner strength and wisdom. They were the ones who became mentors, offering the wisdom of their years drawn from the crucible of experience. They knew the evanescent nature of embodied being, the transient disposition of the immediate and external. They knew the true substance of the internal and eternal.

As I grow toward my ‘year of jubilee’ and prepare for the crone years, I too become aware of the fleeting nature of the external. I will embrace the coming years, not as the new thirty but as an honor with merit of its own. I will celebrate the transition marked by my fiftieth birthday. ‘For everything there is a season’ (Ecc.3:1) a time to be young and a time to grow old, a time to be foolish and a time to be wise. My hope is to use the crone years well and let them become occasion out of which new life and creativity flow, as witness to the One who sustains my be-ing.

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This article has been read 907 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Judy Anderson05/30/05
A shock of recognition. I, too, am turning 50 this year and I call it my "jubilee year." Thank you for this article that struck a cord! May this time be a time of grace for us and new beginnings.
dub W05/31/05
Nice article. I see fifty as the time of the Phoenix, the new arising. As a post 50 I can only look back and say, that's about the time I woke up.
Val Clark06/01/05
Great perspective on ageing. Love phrases like: They knew the evanescent nature of embodied being, the transient disposition of the immediate and external.
darlene hight06/03/05
A very positive and uplifting way to look at life and aging.
Michelle Burkhardt06/06/05
I enjoyed reading your words of wisdom.
Nancy Hardy06/06/05
A very unique approach to this week's topic. I very much enjoyed the wisdom that was contained within! Congrats on its HC recognition!! Way to GO!!
Suzanne R06/07/05
What a lot of truth contained here in this short piece. I love the concepts of the Jubilee Year and also of the crone years. It stands in real contrast, as you say, to our society which has a bias against aging. Well done, and (for what it is worth!) I agree that this is well worthy of the highly commended recognition!
Suzanne R06/07/05
P.S. from Suzanne - I just noticed that this is also in the editors choice selection and therefore in THE BOOK! Well done! And well deserved!
Lois Jennison Tribble06/07/05
Encouraging words for women at a time we most need it -- Thank you, Helga, for providing a well-written, Biblical approach to the topic, and reminding us of the importance of our new role while giving us something to look forward to! Congratulations on placement and publication!