By Lucy Clemente
I know everything I’ve known or had,
But soon it will be time to arise and go.
The future holds mystery both good and bad,
Should I be anxious and melancholy, or glad?
Time to untie and to let go.
Many seeds together we have planted,
Though they have ceased to thrive, they have grown.
We must all let it go, and never again take our callings for granted.
I’m happy to have known you,
Served you and loved you, laughed with you and cried.
But now I’m afraid I must let go of you,
It’s just how life goes, the moon and the tide.
Recently, Lucy shared with this poem with us. It seemed to capture so much of what we, and no doubt you, are feeling. To me, last Sunday felt like the end of “normal” church for quite awhile. It probably felt like that to you, too. What I want you to know is that it is okay to be “in between.” Only, let the Lord speak to you and deal with you there.
Some of us are focused on looking back, grieving what we’re losing. That’s okay.
Some of us are looking forward – excited for the opportunities to come. That’s okay, too!
Most of us are just in between. Perhaps we could sum it up in these three words: we’re relishing what’s been accomplished, we’re relinquishing what we must let go of, and we’re refocusing on the Lord and his calling for the future.
Very shortly, you’ll hear from Mary Hays, Canon for Congregational Care to the Diocese of the Mid-Atlantic. Way back in 2020, in a time of great transition (!), Mary was extremely helpful to me as I navigated the waters of full-time vocational ministry in a global pandemic. One of the resources she walked me and other clergy through is a book called Managing Transitions by William Bridges.
While this book comes from the business world, it does have many helpful insights for the church, too. One of the core concepts in the book is centered around the “Transition Model.” Every transition, says Bridges, includes three stages: loss/endings, a middle phase or “neutral zone” (a period of disruption and disorientation), and new beginnings.
It can be visualized like this:
Today, I don’t want to try to coach you through to the new beginning (in fact, I really can’t be the one to do that). I just want you to reflect on and name where you’re at in this time of transition. Anywhere on the map is okay with me. We’re all in between – but we can be there together, and with our Good Shepherd, who is faithful in the valleys and mountains of life.