“I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is!
I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands.” (Isaiah 43:18-19)
I know many people in transition. With high school graduation this week, many mothers organizing graduation parties for their beloved teens, are also tending a quiet grief of letting go. Teen years fly by so fast, like watching a plant grow in a fast motion video. Their incessant demand for more freedom comes too swiftly. It seems like yesterday, the summer my teenager made a leap frog jump away from me. He warned me, “mom you know this summer you won’t see me much. You know I’ll be with my friends a lot.” When a tear dropped from the corner of my eye, his own eyes softening with tender love, we formed an unspoken agreement – love may not change, but I needed to start loosening the hold. For me this delicate interchange started my gradual, reluctant, journey gathering twigs for the empty nest ahead – just next year he’ll be graduating high school.
Transitions. If only we could remember Tom Stoppard’s words:
“Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.”
I witness other friends entering new phases in their lives, several in their late sixties, robust with wisdom and experience, untying ropes from harbor posts of years past — letting go of conformity, putting the breaks on people pleasing, and ending working at jobs no longer adequate. They’re searching for work with meaning – on their own terms – ‘retirement’ no longer belonging in their vocabularies. Still others face the loss of a loved one, or an illness, adjusting to needed compromises and grieving, finding new ways of caring for themselves while weathering uncertain futures. Others charting new careers, between jobs and projects, or in dead-end jobs, face learning new skills, job market competition, and financial insecurity.
As I redefine my work as a independent documentary producer, I’m letting go of old ways of working that no longer suit me, broadening my horizons in tackling subjects that interest me now. After years of mostly working alone, I now yearn to work with a team, changing the world together, or at the very least sitting around a big table together eating pizza for lunch. Sensing new, unfamiliar seeds sprouting within me, I’m also exploring new ideas, interests and opportunities outside my field. Yet, my vision for this much needed change is murky. I’m often uncomfortable not knowing where I’m heading.
How do we best make transitions, steering our ships toward wide open uncertain seas? Some facing change glimpse calm waters ahead, others tumultuous, stormy seas.
Either way we need encouragement, strength, hope, and faith in navigating change.
I think of St. Peter in the boat on the Sea of Galilee. When the wind picked up several knots, ripping through the flapping sails, as waves rolled toward him like tiny sea monsters, Jesus appears upon the water a distance away.
Jesus spoke saying, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”
He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.
But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith.”
I love how Jesus always get’s to the heart of an issue.
Because that’s the real issue. We lose faith.
How many times during transitions are our minds wired with thorn bushes of worry, invaded by trolls of fear?
The only way to face transitions is by holding loosely the mustard seed of faith in our hands, letting the winds of the spirit blow the seeds of hope onto open fields. With faith, God’s promises grow into robust bushes, unexpected blessings budding from their blooms.
Yet, faith requires radical surrender, stepping out on the surface of fear, walking toward the arms of God’s out stretched arms.
Surrendering and having faith lifts us out of the boat toward a target of new promises. In faith, we realize we’ll be alright. If we have a financial need, we’ll surely be fed like the birds in the air, and clothed with robes more elegant then the lilies of the field. When we mourn, we’re promised comfort. When we’re lost, a light shines our way.
Oh, us, of little faith, how do we forget?
But we do.
Yet, as we remember to walk in faith, Red Sea impossibilities split open at the seams. Faith holds the power to guide us in transcending obstacles, transitioning from fear to confidence. In faith, we discover new, uncharted paths, finding miracles hidden in empty spaces of our changes. When transitions seem like dark, forests with towering Redwoods sheltering light, faith brings angels and helpers pointing us toward open fields of hope.
Yet, in transitions, we’re not expected to just sit and do nothing. As Jesus says, ‘Come’. Walk. Take the steps. Walk over fear, through the storms, be co-creators in the miracles of our new lives.
With God as our focus and faith as our guide, we’re strengthened on our change making journeys. As we persevere through rough seas of transition, weathered by the sunlight and fresh air of faith, lines of wisdom are maps on our faces, indicators we thrived on the journey and made it to a promised land.
Just as the seasons change – spring to summer, summer to fall, fall to winter, year after year, we change, too. We’ll persevere through wicked storms, bloom new buds, shed old leaves, and bask in the sunshine.
And throughout this journey called life, our eyes and hearts focused on God, we can fear not, for God strengthens, helps and upholds us.
May our transitions be faith- filled, empowered by God’s grace.
May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be confident knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us – St. Theresa
We love your comments, and do share with friends!