Posts Tagged ‘change’

In Transition

Posted: October 26, 2011 in personal
Tags: , , , , ,

Hello citizens of the blogosphere,

A few more days and I will be back. It has been a very long couple of weeks and I am definitely suffering from writing withdrawal. We have been in Atlanta and enjoyed a wonderful nine day Pastor’s Sabbatical Retreat from the Vineyard. A wonderful gift for us as we enter this time of transition and change. Now we are an hour outside of Pittsburgh, PA in New Castle, PA and I am sitting in Mcdonald’s listening to people say things like “yinz want that” and speaking with elongated “O’s” when they say words like “Mom”. Wish I had it on tape. I am definitely not in Kansas anymore but if you know me at all…I am lovin the adventure. It is stressful not having a place of our own but I truly believe this is the way for us and I am glad that we are walking in it.

So stay tuned and I will have a few new things to write about that have been brewing for a while.



I will begin this installment on the sixth principle of emotional health Embracing Grief and Loss with a confession: I have not been myself lately. I admit it. I’m coming apart and that’s a good thing. So much of my life has been invested in being the pastor of VX church that it seems unreal that we are closing. So unreal that I do not know how to be. And that speaks to me. It shows me how much being in this role has defined my life. I have defined myself by what I do. In the past few weeks I have gone from lethargic to hyperactive and back again. In fact the night before I had to preach on this topic I did not sleep at all. I couldn’t place my finger on it and blamed it on too much tea (that theory dissolved after I realized yerba mate has 1/3rd the caffeine of coffee). I have been forgetting things and remembering some things that have been long forgotten. On top of all this I have been trying on more new identities than a pampered rich girl tries on clothes in a Beverly Hills dressing room. To put it simply I have been grieving.

Grieving the fact that relationships will change. Grieving the fact that in a few Sunday morning I will have to choose where to go and what to do. Grieving the fact that I will be on the receiving side of a sermon side and not on the giving side. I am grieving the numerous inside jokes that have developed over the years. I am grieving over the fact that the world will not feel like it’s all on my shoulders and people won’t look to me to help solve their problems. Yes I will even grieve that.

Why? Because it is loss. It is change. In order to adjust to change we have to grieve over the reality that once was. People have been asking what is it like to make a decision to close a church. To be honest when we actually made the decision it was easy because I had prayed and thought about it for months. The hard part came after making the decision. Then my emotions caught up to me. That’s because any loss no matter how much it makes sense affects us in profound ways that we are unaware of. God gives us grieving time for the rest of our self to catch up with reality. I believe that’s why even though Sunday was coming…nothing big happened on the Saturday in between the crucifixion and the resurrection. Jesus’ family and friends cried and mourned their loss. The crowds were gone. There was silence in the grave. Saturday was uneventful but profound. In order to really embrace Sunday it was necessary to sit in Saturday. And that’s what I’m doing right now as I search for a new way to be. And the best thing that I can come up with is…be a child of God.

The other day I was watching the Pursuit of Happyness and I
was struck by Thandie Newton’s portrayal of Christopher Gardner’s(Will Smith)
wife. She really was mean. Really mean and hopeless. And not only that but I discovered that she was not African American but British. She definitely portrayed her character well. There was an accent but definitely not enough to hinder the story or look corny. Only a few scenes in the movie but well acted. So I decided to look for other movies that she had been in and I found this brilliant TEDTalk she did earlier this year on Otherness and her experiences being bi-racial and also being an actor portraying different “others”.

I love how she talks about our selves as transitory and not
static. It is a beautiful picture of a cruciform life.  Guess what? Jesus was right. We die only to live again. We lose our life in order to save it. I wrestle with identity
issues as I have never felt perfectly at home in any particular group. But I
think she hits it on the head. Her talk pushed some thoughts to the surface for
me concerning the self and identity. If it is true that we are never born with
a self and that our self is developing over time then o define our “self” at
any one time is futile because we are constantly changing and constantly dying.
Some of us deal with change faster than others and some of us do not like
change. The ones who deal with change faster because either they have to or
they like to have a harder time giving a static definition of self. The ones
who do not like change and do not want to change give a much more static
definition of self. So my thought is the more that we are open to change the
more we become “the other” on the margins of society. Becoming the other on the
margins of society means that we have much more to give. More life. More empathy. More creativity. It’s because there is no “self” to get in the way. Over the years I have been a hip hop head, a criminal, a class clown, a preppie, a graduate student, a preacher, a husband, a father, a missionary, and a whole lot of other things but I think no matter what God has made me the “other”. And now that I finally realize this is a
blessing and not a curse I do not want to squirm out of it but to love it,
embrace it, flourish in my otherness. It is one of the ways that I can imitate
Christ, the totally Other who came and lived among us (John 1:18)