Volume VI, Part 26
“There is a season for everything, and all manner of things.”
Life comes to us in seasons. On any given day I can walk down to the Preschool and one of the classes will be learning how to identify the coming and going of the different seasons. They learn about colors, textures, touch, sights, smells and sounds. They talk about how to dress in order that they are comfortable and safe when those changes come. It seems so natural and part of the way God is creating the world.
Seasons of life come in a deeper way as we grow older. It is not so much about the world we live in but the landscape of our families. Many times that is about the aging process. As difficult as those seasons are when they come and go, it is a perfectly natural way for life to happen to us. Grace for times of transition call for adaptability, sacrifice and grace. In those times, there is no perfect way to be beside one another. There will be times of intensity, uncertainty, and grief. When this happens, we are found in states of anxiety. Anxiety is one word, but it manifests itself in many different ways in people. This is a call to tolerance and peace. It is a prayer for grace.
Tolerance, peace making and grace are not something we muster up out of the goodness of our hearts. They are Divine gifts to freedom. They are gifts for setting our own lives free from paranoia, suspicion and lonely isolation. They are the keys to a life of joy rather than resentment, gratitude rather than entitlement, and forgiveness rather than judgement. These gifts are not a loophole for some other sinner but light in our own darkness. This darkness is the reaction we have to another person’s anxiety and struggle. We often take another person’s struggle as an affront to our own lives. Take the Divine gifts of tolerance, peace and grace. Give those gifts away so you are able to be embraced by them. If we do not use those gifts, we will loose them.
Spiritual seasons happen in the life of congregations too. People leave and new people come. We are unspeakably sad to see people go. It can cause fear and worry in the lives of people in the pews. When new people come it is no easier. That seasonal nodal event is dressed in joy but sometimes it is very hard for us to move over and make room in our heart for folks we do not know yet. Spirituality is an intimate venture and it takes time for us to let one another in. We often miss the greatest gifts that live in the interior of a person’s life. Thus, another call for patient grace in times of seasonal transition.
Then there are the spiritual seasons in our own lives. That can only be navigated by our relationships with God and sometimes a spiritual/pastoral guide. Spiritual direction may feel like psychotherapy but it is not that at all. Therapy is about solving life problems in the emotional life. Spiritual direction and pastoral guidance are about standing beside those who have an ongoing commitment to speak with intention about the movements of the Spirit as they navigate the seasons of their own souls. God is always with us but that means that we are called to be deliberate about discernment, accountability and companioning one another on the sacred journey.
All parts of creation change and transition except for the Creator who holds life in His hands. Every nation, family, church, and your very soul, are all safe in God’s care. All will be well. It will not be easy, but it will be well.