I cannot believe it has been 6 weeks since my last posting! (How embarassing!) I could claim to have been super busy with my daughter's high school graduation celebrations, with family visits from out of town, with preparations for and participation in the annual conference for United Methodists in Oregon and Idaho. All of this is true. I have been busy. But that still does not explain, nor excuse my long absence from the blog!
Because what is even truer than all this talk of busy-ness and external distractions is the internal work I've been doing when it comes to CHANGES. This year of Re-Birth continues to be exciting, challenging, life-giving, and most of the time, fun for me. As my body has undergone radical changes (I'm now down 70 pounds), my spirit has also been opening up in some new ways. I have begun to let go of the need to plan, predict and protect my future. I have begun to trust a little more in the ongoing work of God's Spirit to be present not only in this moment, but in the next and the next and the one after that. This has brought a lightness to my soul which matches the growing lightness of my body.
And, it is not always easy. I believe one of the ways we know we are in the process of making real change is by the discomfort and the disquiet it brings. Recently my youngest daughter experienced this in a profound way.
We were on our way to a party for friends who are moving from one job into another. Of course we were running late (nothing particularly "changed" about that!), so while I drove I asked my daughter to choose a card for each of our friends, and a hearthstone to go with it. Now "hearthstones" are small, handmade clay hearts imprinted with a word for inspiration or blessing. I had a bag of about 20 stones to sort through to choose just the right gift for each of my friends. One by one the stones were lifted from the bag and their blessings were read, until one of the stones was accidentally dropped onto the floor of the car, landing upside down. Retrieving it, my daughter began to laugh and said, "wouldn't you know it ... it says change!"
You see, this daughter is feeling almost engulfed by change these days. The graduation celebrations are a happy memory and now her days are filled with a summer job, and preparations to move on herself - from the safety and security of home to the uncertainty and wonder of college. And seasons of change always provide a fertile ground for us to delve a little deeper into the wounds, the insecurities, the fears we carry, unnoticed in our ordinary days. So of course, the stone she dropped said change.
Off we went to the party, off we went to offer our love and support, our cards and our gifts. And then it was time to go home. Climbing into the car, my daughter surprised me by saying "Very funny, Mom!", accusing me of planting that problemmatic blessing on her seat. For there it was, in all its ironic glory, that one hearthstone - this time, face up where nobody could miss its message - change.
Perhaps the trick is to stop running from it and just accept it. We all know that change is a part of life, that nothing which is alive is not changing in every moment. So why should we be surprised when it chases after us while we are doing our best ostrich impersonation - you know the one, the head-in-the-sand hoping it will go away pose?! I think that is the blessing of the hearthstone, and of this summer for my daughter's development, and of this year in my life...for change is not only a constant, it is also an opportunity. Which is why I am going to stop running and start rejoicing once again.