August 28, 2014
A couple of weeks ago, my family and I spent a week in Vermont. The place we stayed was a stone’s throw away from Lake Champlain. On sunny days (and even the not-so-sunny-days), David, Grace, Ben and I would walk down a wooded path to a quiet, secluded beach from which we could gaze across the lake at the Adirondacks.
As soon as their skin had been slathered with sunscreen, David and the kids would enter the water, Ben pretending to be a Jedi-in-training, pushing back the waves (with little success); Grace kicking a board; and David floating on his back. I, on the other hand, would linger on the land.
You see, transitioning from lounging atop my lovely, warm, sun-soaked spot on the beach to swimming in kind-of-warm-kind-of-cool lake water was not a pleasant process for me. Once fully immersed in the water, I was fine and happy to be swimming. It was just getting into the lake -- transitioning from land to water -- that was not so enjoyable, as evidenced by the steady stream of choice words and loud gasps that typically escaped my lips during this process.
Each of us at Redeemer is experiencing some kind of transition these days. Some are transitioning from summer vacations to fall and school schedules; others are getting used to an empty nest after years of raising children. Some are transitioning from having body parts that worked just fine, thank you very much, until, well, they started not to, anymore; others are transitioning themselves or their elderly parents into different housing. Some are getting used to life without a beloved; others are getting used to life with a new beloved. And we at Redeemer are collectively “in transition” from one rector to another yet-to-be-called rector, under the leadership of our interim rector.
Each of us handles transition in different ways. Some like to plunge in, welcoming change. Others like to linger in the “what was”, especially if the “what was” was lovely, warm and sun-soaked (at least, the way we choose to remember it). Some dip in a toe ... and then an ankle ... and then a calf ... and then the whole leg ... little by little, inch by inch. Still others might need a shove or push.
Whatever the transition - and however each of us handles it - one thing is certain: God is present. We may not feel Him/Her. We may be too busy ... or too anxious ... or too caught up in the details of change or the fear of uncertainty. Yet the words of the psalmist assure us:
If I climb up to heaven, you are there;
if I make the grave my bed, you are there also.
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there your hand will lead me
and your right hand hold me fast.
Whether we are ready or not, whether we welcome it or not, change is ever among us, a part of our mortal existence. May we be aware of the presence of the Immortal Holy One -- with us, among us and within us -- each and every inch of the way. Amen.