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Friday, February 8, 2013

Crossing Thresholds

In her book of daily readings, In the Sanctuary of Women, Jan Richardson offers the blessing,

In the beginning,
in the ending,
in the beginning again:
May the God of the threshold
encompass you in every turning.

and the following day,

When all about you lies in pieces,
may the Holy One make of them a passage. 

I am captured by the theme of threshold, that in-between space where we sit with the past behind us and the future not yet clear.  Our lives are a series of beginnings and endings which can be simultaneously frightening and exciting.   It seems we grasp this process intellectually as a necessary function of change to become more fully who we are to be within current circumstances.  But, when it comes to living it out in our own personal experiences, we often fight against it and believe something must be terribly wrong since life seems in such disarray.   It becomes an act of quickly fixing the dis-ease rather than living in it until we sense clarity for the next step.

When I read these two blessings recently, a resounding “yes!” bubbled to the surface.  Always We Begin Again was born in my personal journey of broken pieces through which I came to see God creating stepping stones to bring me to a place overflowing with purpose for my life and for the way I am to serve others.  On reflection I can see the twisting and turning of a 15-year journey that brought me to this place.  While I was in it, life just felt hard much of the time.  I became so accustomed to the discomfort and unfamiliarity that I  assumed this was the way life would be going forward - get used to it.  There were attempts to “fix,” none of which worked long-term.

Then came the watershed event, the definitive threshold to be crossed, the hard decision to make.   Did I believe that broken pieces were all that awaited me, or would I cross the threshold from the past into a new future following the stepping stones laid out by God, not myself or others?  There is a long story embedded in that process for which words are terribly inadequate.  It is too deep and wide for human language.  I suspect that many of you have had a similar watershed moment that goes beyond language.  

Christians enter the Lenten Season next week - a reminder of releasing the past to make way for the future.  It is the mystery of death, waiting and resurrection.  Brokenness must be allowed to occur so that new life can rise to the surface.   There is the invitation to faith in a new life and a new way of being.  This message is so true for those impacted by chronic disease.   Chronic means that the diagnosis is a part of our present and our future.   It is not, however, the final word.  How might the Holy One use your broken pieces as stepping stones to the future?  

~~ Some pieces will, by design, remain
broken and part of the past.  
Release them.  

~~ Some pieces will have their rough edges 
polished to a smooth finish by God’s skilled hands.  
Carry faith and trust in the process.  

~~ New pieces will be added.  
Take courage.  

God made a passage for me that includes broken pieces refined by the Spirit’s tender hands and new pieces created to take me where God knows I can live an abundant life.  The same awaits you.  You might discover part of that path through AWBA’s upcoming program, Soul Collage.  This event is a fund raiser for AWBA and open to the community.  Check it out and let us know if you are interested.  Space is limited to 15.

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