Times of transition can be both hope-filled and nerve-wracking. There is a lot of ambiguity in transition because we don’t know what will be our new reality when we come out the other side. The image that I often turn to in times of transition is the image of being in a tomb. We usually enter an in-between time (the tomb) because something has ended or even died and the new something has not arrived. I can imagine myself in a tomb and looking out.
Perhaps, like me, you have lost a job, changed careers, moved, or experienced the death of a loved one, and there you are, standing at the edge of the tomb, looking out and wondering what path to take to get on with your life. The possibilities while you stand in that liminal space can seem overwhelming. You know that once you put your foot on a particular path the other paths could be lost to you. This is an uncomfortable feeling. You can choose a path that is well trodden by others, or choose a path that is barely marked and not easy to see.
The most difficult transitions are the ones that are forced on us, like losing a job or death, but even those transitions that we choose — moving to a new location, taking on a new career, deciding to have a child — can feel uncomfortable and even dangerous.
Transitions are disruptive to the order of things and depending on what our expectations are for the outcome, they either feel dangerous or hope-filled, or maybe a bit of both.
Right now our country is in transition and there is bound to be discomfort with the process. There is much we don’t know. It can feel like chaos and chaos is threatening. With chaos we don’t know where things will end up once things are reordered again. There are long standing structures and systems that are under threat of change and those who benefit from the way things are — the status quo — will be on guard and ready to resist every change.
The book of Genesis tells us that God created everything out of chaos — a dark and formless wasteland. What we learn from this is that both chaos and ordering are part of Creation. Chaos continues to disrupt things and just as dependably, everything comes into new order, and so it goes. This is the pattern of life. It is the pattern of life for us as individuals and for countries, too.
In this time of transition, when everything seems up in the air and we don’t know what is coming, we have an opportunity to stop trying to do things in the same old ways that do not work for most people and to do something new. We can challenge the status quo. The president elect is putting together a transition team. It would be wonderful if this team of people were to put their creativity to work on plans that will help us form that more perfect Union we keep dreaming of and find ways to establish justice for all and ensure peace while promoting the general welfare of all those living within our borders. Let’s hope this team will listen to the voices of those who worked so hard to put Joe and Kamala in office.
Transitions take time and our job now is to wait with patient hope for the future, but to stay awake, paying attention to the direction a new government wants to take us. Let us keep in mind the goal — we are partnering with God on behalf of the Beloved Community of God.
So, my beloved ones, let us wait with patient hope and stay awake and alert to what is coming.