Look at what’s going on—ebola and terrorism in our own country, even changes in our own congregation. The best book I’ve read on change is Robert Brumet’s Finding Yourself in Transition. He says that change is similar to rights of passage. It is inevitable and extremely painful. But the suffering is optional. When we have a drastic, unexpected change in our lives it is a kind of death. Something we had depended on, loved, and felt we needed is ripped away. Our impulse is to grieve it. But we can embrace it.
Like the Israelite’s journey out of Egypt and through the wilderness to the Promised Land, there are stages to our transitions as identified by Brumet. First is Endings. You’ve lost your feeling of safety, or your health. You retire or become an “empty nester”. There is disengagement, followed by disidentification—you are no longer a husband or wife, or part of a unit, or one of the healthy. You move into disenchantment, where you have lost your faith in love, or in your employability, and so on, even your faith in God. You feel lost, hopeless, discouraged. You don’t know who you are anymore. You are disoriented. But when you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hold on!
The second stage of transition is the Void. As the Israelites did, you are wondering in the wilderness. It doesn’t feel very good. Your only connection is to the God of your understanding. But know you are being guided. It is painful but it also has purpose. It is said that this is the point at which suicides occur. Don’t give up. The light is just around the corner. You are like a seed in the soil that has lost it’s covering, but now you can send down roots and grow into a strong new plant ready to bloom and bear fruit. You are being reborn into a more perfect self. You can appreciate the beautiful transition moving through you. You have the tools and ability to move forward into the unknown without giving up. In my Void, I was literally on the carpet with the pain, but then I saw clearly what it was for. I saw a new vision, a new way of being, the third stage of transition. It brought me to Unity.
Each time we set out on a journey that is pulling us away from what we feel we can’t live without, there is this divine spark within that will lead us through. It empowers us. Understand the power of transition. This is an inside job. You will know yourself more deeply than before. Keep making the effort to let go, to open to what Spirit has for you. Trust. Each transition lifts you to a higher level.
There is so much change in our lives right now. Expect the good, the Promised Land. What shows up isn’t what you prayed for, but what you expect. Trust. Expect. “…and goodness and mercy will follow you all the days of your life.”