the challenge of change

 

Some people say they crave it, but for me, change is hard. Sometimes life happens and the transition to a new norm is forced. But even when the change is elected, I can still struggle.

 

There’s always so much more letting go than I originally anticipate, both in what I’m leaving behind AND in what I’m moving into. How is it that the faded or once hidden good things of where I’ve been seem so obvious, and the future, which sounded so hope filled and controlled when the decision was being made, becomes laden with questions and uncertainty?

 

When the thing left behind has more positives than negatives, there is an interwoven process of grieving what no longer is, gratitude for having had it, and a longing for the new to be as good or better. Transition requires not only that I release what I had, but that I move toward something that is only an outline, at best, of what eventually will come to be. Like the trapeze artist flying through the air, suspended in the midst of the in-between, I’m no longer fully connected to what was and I’m not yet entirely linked to what is to come. This is an unsettling place to be.

 

The transition can be slightly easier, or perhaps filled with slightly less doubt, when the change has been prayed about, over, under, and through, and I’m as certain as I can be that I’m following the doors that are closing and opening. But whether the change is involuntary or chosen, there is a jumbled mix of emotions. Hiccups, speed bumps, and disappointments are swirled together with joy, celebration, and mystery and I can be just as easily prone to laughter as tears. And sometimes both at the same time.

 

Whether the transition is from pre to post cancer, resigning from one job to starting the next, shifting from one stage of faith to another, moving from one decade of life to the next…the list goes on. I guess it comes down to trusting, again and again, that God is in it all.

 

 

Photo Credit: Deb Turnow


 

Nicole Mills is an oncology nurse, cancer survivor, nerd, and contemplative. She has a secret desire to be a nun or double-dutch jump rope champion. Not being Catholic or able to jump two ropes poses significant hurdles, but she remains hopeful. Visit Nicole at www.noticeandwonder.com to learn more about her beautifully messy journey and her whimsically quirky spirit.

 

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home

 

I’ve lived in several houses in my life; three in the home of my origin and five since I married my forever boyfriend. I think of a house as the physical place a person occupies and home as the people, atmosphere and culture in that space. New questions have been stirring about where home really is for me.

 

“Home” is a word packed with meaning dependent on experience. For me, home is a sanctuary from the demands of life. It is a nurturing space to rest and regroup. When at home, each person can explore, try and try again, grow and experience love. Home is belonging and security.

 

When the Preacher and I created our home, we preferred order over clutter and created beauty according to our preferences and gifts. Our home culture prioritizes daily connection during family mealtime and prayers.  We trained our children with lots of physical affection, encouragement and correction sandwiched in affirmation. Respect is a core value and we nurture curiosity, responsibility and listening for God. Sometimes there is lots of talking and laughing in our home, other times companionable silence. The Preacher is a man of few words and one time our daughter was concerned I wouldn’t have anyone to talk to when she left for college.  I assured her we are comfortable with silence and simply being present, we use words when necessary.

 

I’ve been ruminating about the new house we want to build and the home we desire to create on our little acre of woodland. The longing is great for space to grow our hobbies and decrease the maintenance demands of a large house. The wait is hard for the documents needing signed and permissions granted. The desire is strong, yet I wonder, once we are at home in the woodland, will that quiet the longing in my heart? Or is there a spacious house, dusty and forgotten, that I have and didn’t remember I have?

 

My home with God. The inner sanctuary I occupy with Beloved Trinity.

 

It too is a place for exploring and listening for the voice of God. A nurturing space where pure love envelopes all my goodness and shadows. It is where I learn the family culture of forgiveness, sacrifice, humility, grace, faithfulness…love. In this inner haven, I learn my name and my nature. It is a place where the gaze of Trinity welcomes me home, wanting to hear about my day, its successes and failings, my joys and disappointments. Here as well, togetherness in silence is welcome. This home decorated with the beauty of the Trinity and Melanie, fully alive in who she is created to be.

 

This home I long for…am I already there?

 

Can I imagine being so at home with God, laughing around the family table, telling Trinity how I was brave and kind today? How I failed today? Can I gladly accept my place at the table and hear my name spoken with delight and love? To come home and tell of the wonders God has shown me?

 

Home.

 

Photo Credit: Deb Turnow

 


Melanie Horning is a brand-new Grammy looking at life with fresh lenses through a baby’s eyes. She enjoys books, a good laugh, running with her husband and soft-serve ice cream. God is redeeming her perfectionism and control issues. She counts it a privilege to be a companion to people through spiritual direction and friendship.

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roots

 

The other day I was weeding a flowerbed where two years ago we had pulled out a giant yew bush that blocked the view whenever we backed out of the driveway. As I knelt down, I noticed a plant was coming up through the mulch and it wasn’t an ordinary weed. It was a baby yew bush. As I pulled it up with great effort, I marveled at the tenacity of the thing and its desire to live and grow.

 

 

Later that same day I visited an elderly acquaintance who has been ill with one thing or another for all of the 30 years that I’ve known her. She complained about everyone and everything, from the nurses who care for her to her children who don’t come around much anymore. I listened as patiently as I could, offering some hopeful words, and tried to change the subject more than once. 

 

 

As I drove home, I thought about this woman and prayed for her, knowing that her divorce from 50 years ago is still impacting her today. Over the years I heard her complaints: her sister said this, her brother did that, the folks at the rehab hospital don’t know what they’re doing, the food stinks, etc. She sits alone with her thoughts and cannot seem to get beyond them to a place where she can enjoy her life. I witnessed how she watered and fed that root and how the bitterness grew and took over her life. Many times I tried to encourage her to forgive, to change her perspective, to let things go. I believe what she daily feeds seeps a poison that contributes to her poor physical health as well.

 

 

The next morning as I was waking and my thoughts were still hazy and unformed, the phrase “rooted and grounded in loved” kept coming in to my mind.  I thought about the yew bush.  Those roots must have gone very deep.  As the rains watered it and the sun shone, it flourished.  I contrasted that with the bitter plant embedded and thriving in my friend’s soul. 

 

 

I took pause and examined my own heart. What does it look like to be rooted and grounded in love?  Where are the weeds with deep long roots in my soul that poison my perspective, my heart, my capacity to live and to love wholeheartedly?  “To be rooted and grounded in love.”  Wholly abiding in God, who IS Love. 

 

 

I’m reminded of the psalmist’s encouraging words to be like a tree planted by the streams of water, which yields its fruit in due season and whose leaf shall not wither. I envision a tall healthy tree, well-watered, getting sun, bearing good fruit. I ask that I may be forgiving, full of the grace of God, spreading encouragement and mercy. I pray that if anything takes root in me that may be choking or spreading bitter poison that it will be plucked and removed while still small.

 

 

Photo Credit: Deb Turnow


 

 

Kim Yinger is a wife, mother of two, and an HR manager.  She is a contemplative who also loves nature and writing Haikus.  Touching other peoples’ lives with her musings, and glorifying the Lord with the offerings are her greatest desire.  “When people read my poems, I’d like them to say, ‘hmmmm…… pause and calmly think about that.’  [Selah].”

 

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