At some point along the journey of life we will all experience the discomfort of a transition that seeks to move us from one state to another, a relinquishing of old ways in order to embrace a new way of being in the world.
The disconcerting nature of these moments is the uncertainty that emerges. Change is supposedly the one great consistency in life, and yet it is never consistently clear when it comes to the fine details of exactly what we are supposed to expect.
Dante describes it like this...“In the middle of life, I found myself in a dark wood.”
When we are used to doing life in a well prescribed order it seems like there is light on our path that at least brings a certain peace and calmness to our souls. Then the darkness of transition pulls us onto an unknown path, reminding us that we will need some outside help and en-light-enment if we are going to let trust have its ‘way' in us.
'Trust gives us the grace we need to cope with the dark paths of life that keep us groping for answers and clarity’
Trust is the bread that goes with the new wine of transition, the sustenance that helps us deal with the disorientating and stupefying effects of this new state of affairs.
The psalmist said …'By your words I can see where I'm going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path’.
If you cant really see where you are going or you are trapped in a very dark place then the sound of a reassuring voice can be all the light you actually need. As a child I was so afraid of the dark. Truth be told I still suffer from this as an adult…never really sure how to cope with the boogey man who was always coming to get me. If only I had known that the real truth of the matter was that a WORD was actually coming for me, to calm my fears and instil a sense of peace in my heart.
When you feel trapped in the inevitable cycle of change it is not about squinting hard and hoping for some kind light at the end of the tunnel, rather closing your eyes and listening to the sound of the light that is reverberating inside. Yes, light actually has a hum to it.
‘I heard the hum of reverence in me’ - Jane Fonda
Insight is not just an inner seeing but rather an inner listening for words that can enlighten our consciousness and guide us forward with a fearless abandon.
'Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm…’ - Job 38
So often when we read these passages we imagine a loud voice booming from the heavens, a Zeus type God making himself known as the one who is about to come and fix everything, very similar to a recent theological distraction called ‘rapture theology’ where we literally think Jesus is coming soon riding on a horse to whisk us away and free us from this life.
I wonder if this is actually God speaking inside Job’s stormy heart and mind reminding him that he is more comforted than he realises. Maybe God speaks to us all the time in our stormy transitions, that speaking being the nature of divine encounter and potential clarity. No one seemed to experience the ‘dark night of the soul’ like Job and that is why we can all identify with his struggle and journey through the unpredictable waters of change.
The epilogue of the book says…’The God restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before?’
In actual fact he never got the children back that were the collateral damage at the beginning of his transition story. Transition is a costly process that works better in the dark where our blindness must learn to trust the voice that guides and reassures our heart. Whatever you are going through close your eyes and lean into the sound of the future walking in your garden. A future full of hope regardless of the darkened helplessness you might be feeling.
Transition is a reminder that life is changing and that we must change with it if we are to become the people we are called to be.