(thanks to friend, Mary Jean Adkins for this picture)
At Candler, our kind and gracious seminary professors used to call these places of the heart: “growing edges.” That was a nice way of saying “truly, you need to address this…” Whatever the “this” seems to be. Growing edges were identified as bumps in the road, places that held us back from moving on. Places that got in our way of learning or living. Growing edges. What was true back years ago at Candler, continues to be true today – my “this,” my growing edge is my resistance to change.
All change – big or small - has a way of discombobulating my spirit in ways that I truly fear that I might become lost.
Change that has been the hardest for me is the change that comes to my root system.
When changes have come to the places and to the ones who keep me tethered and balanced – when these changes come, I have felt truly lost. The deaths of my parents and loved one, the loss of a job I thought I would always have, health and living changes – all of these changes have struck deep to the root of me, to the heart of me.
Sometimes (when I’m in my more grounded place) I recognize that change most always brings with it, something new. Opportunities come with changes that weren’t there before. Possibilities come for renewal and restoration.
My life experiences, all the times of holding on and letting goA have taught me to trust what was, what is and what will be. My faith nudges me at all the best times to stay open, to keep looking. My faith grounds me and invites me to believe that something will come, a path will appear.
Perhaps our wisest teacher for living in and through change is nature’s yearly lesson that accompanies the change of seasons. Summer into fall, leaves letting go beautifully and particularly into winter, bare branches bringing buds in the spring. One leading into another. Each season for its time. And then grace comes and there is a letting go and moving on toward what will be next.
My friend MJ took this beautiful picture along the Fox River in Wisconsin last weekend. Here we are invited to journey on...on the path that is before us. Through the woods, through the cold, through the beauty into what is to be next. If we stop and dig in, if our spirits get stuck and resistant…just imagine what we might miss. Just imagine what may be up the path just a bit…left foot, right foot.
Working as a Hospice Chaplain, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. A Candler School of Theology graduate, Lesley has just published her second book, Grief and the Psalms: Companioning the Moon for 29 Days (available on this website). She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan and Sam in Decatur, GA.