Sometimes changes in our lives need acknowledgment or ritual. We have lived long enough to accumulate wisdom, experiences, wounds, and redemption, and we need a way to say “Yes! These are the gifts that have brought me this far.” Then we get to decide if we want to take them into our future. Or we can let them stay in our past, as a chapter ending that marks the end of one time and the beginning of something new.
I think about the moment I transitioned from pastoring churches. I loved all that my congregations had taught me. I cherished the memories of baptizing children and visiting elders. I miss writing sermons and leading group studies. I carry the scars of my own leadership missteps and hurt feelings. I give thanks for the lessons I learned and the person I have become because of those years.
When I moved to a full-time focus on consulting with congregations and leaders, I felt I needed to mark that moment of transition. I was different in this role. My work was different. I used journaling as a way of ritualizing the transition. I wrote about my gratitude for all I had gained to that point and then recognized that my work would be different going forward. I grieved, and I celebrated.
Ritualizing our rites of passage help us integrate the wisdom we have gained and let go of what holds us back. It allows us to hold the grief that comes with change and hold the hope that comes with dreams.
As we continue to move through these COVID days, I wonder what rituals we need to hold our grief and our hopes. These are “coming of age” days. We are transforming from one person, community, country and world into another. We have wisdom gained that we should integrate and celebrate. We have behaviors and ways of being that we need to let go as they no longer serve us.
In mid-March, a chapter in the global story ended. We give thanks for that world that was. Now, we are different. We sing new songs. We dance new dances. We write new poetry. We pray new prayers. We dream new dreams. God is with us in the flow, doing new things. How shall we mark the shift? How might we tell the story of who we were and who we hope to be?
We are in this together,
Prayer for the Week
Make me an instrument of your love,
that I might be
in all things,
toward all people,
for all my days.