The Great Unwinding

In an effort to identify the current state of our financial crisis; statisticians, historians, financial gurus and journalists are frantically searching for just the right term to name the “panic” we’re in. After floundering around with terms like “the sub-prime mortgage crisis, the credit crunch” and even stooping so low as to create the term “crecession” historians readily admit that it is often impossible to term such a catastrophic event until long after it has occurred.

They point out that often in the heat of the moment things are notoriously misnamed. Perfect example: WWI was originally termed “The War to End All Wars” a title that lasted only until the second “War to End All Wars” occurred a few short years later. Only time will tell how we’ll reflect back on this period in our nation, or more correctly, our globe’s history.

For now, many journalist are phrasing the ever intensifying recession we’re entrenched in as “The Great Unwinding.” On an economic level, I have to admit I have been frighteningly insulated from what has been occurring. Friend after friend recounts stories of the immediate lay-offs of those close to them, but those I know appear to have made it this far in the storm unscathed. My guess is the full depth and duration of “The Great Unwinding” has not yet been felt.

Reflecting back on the last several years of my own life, “the great unwinding” appears to be a fitting term. A friend warned me going into my late 20’s that “those were some of the roughest years of her life…” At 26 I felt pretty confident going into the latter part of my second decade of life… I was blissfully unaware that “the great unwinding” had begun. A slow, but steady unraveling of my thoughts and emotions, my security and everything I thought I knew about life.

These past few years have been unnerving and uncomfortable. We all have those places in our lives that we never venture into; rooms littered with baggage too painful to unpack. Gutted buildings that have been burnt beyond recognition never to be revisited again. Left untouched they sit in their present state, quiet monuments erected to our life’s painful moments and experiences.

Sitting in shambles, these ruins continue to pour pain and fear and sorrow and destruction into our lives. We go on unaware of their existence, while all the while they sit, ever present “just a few blocks” away.

It fascinates me how extremes, that appear to be diabolically opposed, often occur within the breadth of a few short moments. I am discovering that pain brings healing, fear breeds courage, sorrow returns to joy and destruction leads to restoration. Much of life’s most beautiful moments are recovered from the ashes. A place that so often we never allow ourselves to venture. I am discovering that the great unwinding, the undoing of all that I was, is slowly becoming the great rebuilding.

And so it goes that as it is for me, plunging into the depth of the destruction to begin restoring what has been unraveled, only to begin to discover new depths of risk and courage and strength and belief, there may also be a day when the gatekeepers of history look back at not just “The Great Unwinding” of our society, but “The Great Restoration” that followed.


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