Transitions are hard. Every year about this time, I find myself sliding towards Daylight Savings Time-onset depression. The nights are darker by dinner time, the weather is cool enough for long pants and sweaters, and I feel burdened by the knowledge that summer is not only ending, but fall will lead to winter.
This is a first world problem, no doubt, but I think everyone finds transitions difficult. We live under the illusion that there is safety and security in sameness, and consistency.
But really nothing, I mean NOTHING, remains the same. Neighborhoods change with houses and buildings being torn down or erected, with roads being paved, rather than remaining dirty and rocky, and potholed. The stars in the sky look similar from night to night, but the configuration of stars and planets change as well. Glaciers all over the world are changing—they are melting and shrinking. A piece of Antarctica the size of Delaware broke off a few months ago. Our bodies are always changing; every 7 years we are basically a whole new person with brand new cells. Books we used to love seem silly, or books we couldn’t bear now open themselves to us in clear and transformative ways.
Not all change is bad, but even when the change is something we want, there is loss involved. Please give yourselves the time and space to acknowledge your losses. No one escapes from loss; but some of us have learned how to be honest and courageous with our grief.
When faced with grief, whether from the perceived loss of the summer, to more dreadful losses of friends and family and abilities, one thing that has always helped me is the suggestion to do the next right thing. When we feel stuck or overwhelmed, this is so helpful, and hopeful, as almost everyone can focus on one thing. Wayne Muller, minister, activist, and author, asks us to be mindful of our decisions. “Where, in this moment, shall we choose to place our time and attention? Do we stay or move, speak or keep silent, attend to this person, that task, move in this or that direction? With each succeeding moment, we make a new choice. After each decision, there is another. And another…Every single choice we make, no matter how small, is the ground where who we are meetswhat is in the world…
A life that becomes spacious and full is a life made of moments chosen carefully, decisions that each, one by one, lean into an abiding trust in the power of life…and the wholeness of our own heart’s wisdom.” (from A Life of Being, Having and Doing Enough, by Wayne Muller, pps. 27-29)
May we each make the best decisions we can, with what we know at the time, and trust that all transitions will be made easier if we take things one step at a time.
See you at 4 Cleaves Street!