Weddings and births are some of the most joyous changes we find in our human experience. Even before we find ourselves experiencing these two life-changing events, we often find ourselves engrossed in thinking about what it will be like. As little girls, we play dress up and think about how the wedding will unfold. Sometimes we name future children or spouse. We can laugh now, but this is the serious stuff of childhood dreams. These changes are the most positively anticipated changes we will ever experience this side of heaven.
Yet, have you ever experienced these most anticipated changes only to find yourself a little…sad? A little lost inside? As if part of you was left behind in the previous “season” of your life? It can be this way even when facing positive changes because there is an element of “good-bye” in every new beginning. I sometimes wonder if part of Jesus’ own grief while awaiting his fate at the cross wasn’t also thinking about leaving behind his mother…his disciples…his work that *could* be done if he stayed on Earth.
Here are two thoughts I wanted to offer you as I’m learning alongside you:
There is a grief even in positive changes. Change will bring about some negative feelings because there is a kind of loss in any new beginning. It is completely human to feel sad at whatever was left behind.
So, what can we do?
Honor the changes. We celebrate birthdays at the END of the year. Though we give the birthday person well wishes for the up-coming year, we really are celebrating the end of their 1st, 2nd, 40th, 75th …year lived. We celebrate at the END of sets of schooling: Kindergarten, 8th grade, high school, etc. We don’t celebrate as a declaration of “WE DID IT!” The unspoken part is “and now we will do something new!” We mark these occasions with special dinners, group of family and friends gather, cards are sent, candles are lit.
Today, I want you to consider: how can you honor the current season of change you may be in? Do you have a kindergartener you just sent off to school? Has your last “baby” left the nest? Will you be left looking at only your husband across the table and somehow the thought of the quiet and “just the two of you” seems a little uneasy right now? Are you at a new ministry position but unsure if you made the “right” decision about it all? Let me offer a gentle invitation: Find a way to honor the change. Set up a dinner; small or large. Write a journal entry. Buy yourself flowers. Send yourself a card. Light a candle. Amidst the business of your life, take a moment or two to declare the gift of what was and offering thanks for what will be.
Isaiah 43:19 says, “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”