Do you know what a “transition warning” is? It’s a phrase I was taught way-back-when to let my toddler-age daughter know that something would soon be changing. Usually, a change like leaving the playground or getting ready for bed. Instead of whisking her away, giving her a 5-minute transition warning hopefully provided her some time to mentally prepare to say goodbye to what she was doing and get ready for what was coming next.
As adults we sometimes get transition warnings, too. And yes, preparing for change is helpful but it doesn’t necessarily make moving through transitions any easier (there were plenty of times when Dorothea still vigorously protested with weeping and gnashing of teeth!). Because even with our best preparations change inherently means something new is coming, something we can imagine but don’t yet know. Anxiety-producing as this truth may be, it is also a reminder that change is always opportunity. An opportunity to give ourselves over to a process of growth and learning. Even when moving through the process might mean letting ourselves fall apart - trusting in ourselves and others that, with God’s help, we have the capacity to put ourselves back together, in a new way.
If you think about it for a moment, everything in all of creation is in constant change. Just watch the course of the sun through the day. Transition, like death and taxes, is also a guarantee.
At present, I am very aware of transitions at Good Shepherd. Our program year comes to an end this month, meaning our choir takes a summer break, as does Children’s Chapel. A new vestry meets in June with four new members and a new Senior Warden. We recently bid farewell to Jessica and I am taking time with our vestry and parents and all of you to discern the next steps in filling that position. That discernment for me, is a sense of leaning into the Holy Spirit to support and direct the process for this particular time, which is unlike any other. That is another gift of transition. Change helps us name where we are and who we are right here and right now. As individuals and as a Body of Christ we too are constantly becoming.
Maybe this transition into summer is a good time for you to reflect on the changes happening in your life. Big or small all transitions are opportunities for spiritual practice. Sometimes we want to push the change away and avoid participating. For participating is about opening our hearts, our minds. Its about being vulnerable to knowing we don’t have all the answers and we cannot control or predict the future. But choosing an attitude of courageous curiosity towards what is to come is also life-giving and reminds us of the strength and power of the One in whom we live, and move and have our being.
My prayers for you and me and our congregation as we seek to follow the voice of the Good Shepherd in the myriad of transitions we are moving through in ordinary time.
In Peace, Arianne+
P.S. - Need some encouraging ways to pray daily as you move through the changes in your life? Check out The Daily Office from the Mission of St. Clare. Or, Pray As You Go. Or Sacred Space. Each of these offer different ways to read scripture and prayers, even listen to music, to support your individual prayer life.