ONWARD WITH FAITH
Like A Moon Rising
In time we move to the “middles” of transition in the William Bridges model. This is when we are past where we were (e.g. no longer in our previous job) but not engaged in the new work we desire.
For me with lymphoma, the period of my life without this disease was past and I wasn’t at the stage yet where the disease would hopefully be in remission. I was at the beginning of a “middle”–about to begin chemo therapy. Middles can be difficult as there is still plenty of uncertainty and regret. There’s also some comfort in knowing that the journey has begun.
My consulting business colleague Darrell used to say with a wink and a theatrical twang as we finished up a productive meeting, “We ain’t where we want to be, but at least we ain’t where we was.”
Bridges assures us that even in the anxiety and uncertainty, “seeds of hope are growing.” For me that was true as I was beginning to gain some confidence in the doctors and healthcare pros who were treating me, and the critical support from Leslie, our kids and good friends was getting revved up. I knew what I had and there was a plan to fight it. My spiritual fortifications were also kicking in as the following journal entries indicate.
God is in this… I remember sitting next to my friend Joe at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NYC when he had a few days to live. He could barely speak. I asked him if there was anything good here. He responded, “Yes, God is here–and it makes all the difference.” If God was there, then God is with me in the next stage of my life as I battle.
I’m not saying it doesn’t suck, but in the universe of sucking and suffering, pain and worry which people have and which people have had from the dawn of time, this situation is a drop in the bucket.
I am at some level inarticulately called to this. Thomas Merton’s line about God obscurely calling him has meaning for me. I will grow spiritually…find fresh work and ministry…meet new people to help and who will be my helpers. “When you discover the true meaning of the events in your life, everything changes” (Mira Kirshenbaum).
Poet, Ranier Rilke teaches–“Everything that happens keeps on being a beginning…perhaps the time when everything in me is working at God…”
As we examine the middle aspects of transitions with their uncertainty and incompleteness, maybe there are small seeds of hope growing. There’s comfort in knowing you “aint where you was.” You’ve weathered the storm of leaving that old work and now a plan is forming to get to where you want to be. And you know that support from people who love you, confidence from colleagues who believe in you and a new faith which is forming will sustain you.
Write down how you are gaining faith in yourself, others, and something beyond yourself as you distance yourself from the previous work ending…and begin to form plans for a new beginning. What one “seed of hope” can you identify?
I want to write about faith,
about the way the moon rises
over cold snow, night after night,
faithful even as it fades from fullness,
slowly becoming that last curving and impossible
sliver of light before the final darkness.
But I have no faith myself
I refuse it even the smallest entry.
Let this then, my small poem,
like a new moon, slender and barely open,
be the first prayer that opens me to faith.