Transitions & Strangers

True beauty can emerge at the most vigorous threshold where the oppositions in life confront and engage each other… Beauty inhabits the cutting edge of creativity – mediating between the known and the unknown, light and darkness, masculine and feminine, visible and invisible, chaos and meaning, sound and silence, self and others.¹

-John O’Donohue

I find myself transitioning into a life after seminary; a life with less papers to write, books I have to read, classes to go to. On the edge of this transition, I find myself looking in both directions: forward and back. I see behind me an incredible three years full of learning, joy, pain, suffering, sadness and deep friendships beginning. In front of me I see the same thing and possibility too.

Transitions can be so hard. Learning a new rhythm of life, creating good (at least better) habits, can be a daunting task. But the quote from John O’Donohue teaches me that precisely in these moments of transition is where deep beauty is often found. In the joy of new, the pain of leaving the familiar, the wonder of what might be, beauty emerges.

All of life is full of transitions. We finish another school year and begin a new summer. We finish a good book and search for the next one. We celebrate the passing of life and welcome in the freshness of another. The darkness of night gives way to the warmth of the morning sun.

In the midst of movement, in the rush of change from one to another, take time to feed the soul. Take time to reacquaint yourself with the deepness and riches already inside you, your inner life. O’Donohue also says: “If we fail to acquaint ourselves with soul, we will remain strangers in our own lives.”² Don’t be a stranger. Don’t be a stranger to those who love you. Don’t be a stranger to the well of goodness that flows in the deepest parts of who we are. Don’t be a stranger to the beauty that sits on the threshold of this new day as we gently let go of yesterday.

Transitions can be so tough. But there is goodness here too. Even more, there are a lot of people who want to love you as they embrace their own transitions. We need each other. We need ourselves.

Paul wrote to the church in Ephesus saying: “I ask that you’ll have the power to grasp love’s width and length, height and depth, together with all believers. I ask that you’ll know the love of Christ that is beyond knowledge so that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19, CEB).

In these raw places of moving from one thing to the next, don’t be a stranger. Tell someone you love them; tell yourself too! Reach for the wideness of God’s love that is in us, around us and in each other. Look for the light and celebrate it as it fades into night. Embrace the mystery that abounds and sustains us.

Transitions can be so precious. And mean. And confusing. If no one else tells you while you move from one place to the other, hear it from me: I love you.

-Grace and Peace,  Cole

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1. John O’Donohue, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, (New York, NY: HarperCollins Press, 2004), 41.

2. Ibid., 39.

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