In my 45th year, I “came to my senses in a dark forest,” as Dante says, without any notion of how I’d gotten there. Somehow my life had once again veered out of control, though not in the usual sense: not morally. In that sphere, I was finally looking pretty good. I’d gone to grad school in my thirties and was teaching at a university. I was a published novelist and short story writer, and after a challenging stint as a single mother of two, I’d made a go of it with a new marriage complete with stepchildren. Most important, after a decade of deliberate, repetitive sinning, I’d repented and returned to the church. I was bashfully pleased with myself and content with my middle-aged life.