In January, someone recommended a book called Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes by William Bridges. Am I the only one who sees the humor in a man named Bridges writing a book about transitions? When I bought it, I had no idea how much this book would apply to me in the coming weeks and months.
In February, I passed my ordination interviews. WooHoo! Work and family travel meant I celebrated with friends in my Leadership Incubator in Nashville, and with family at my niece's wedding later that week. A week after my interviews, I returned to the office expecting a chance to celebrate belatedly with my co-workers.
It didn't happen that way. Within 10 minutes of my arrival at work, I had learned that my position will be eliminated and I will be appointed to a church effective July 1. Immediately, I began to put the brakes on a 2 year training program scheduled to start in August.
In addition, three of the committees I've worked hard to get up and running to resource churches in areas of discipleship, health ministries, and disability ministries are being disbanded in order to reorganize the conference for more effective ministry. To be accurate, these are just three of several committees that are being disbanded. Last Thursday, I attended three "last meetings." I joked about three funerals, but really it was a close metaphor. We celebrated the life and works of each committee, and worked on documents to extend our legacy into the future. In each meeting there were images of resurrection that came through prayers and devotions offered. I was reminded that death must preceed resurrection. My tears were near the surface several times throughout the day and even now as I type.
William Bridges talks about the difference between change and transition. Change is what happens in our circumstances. Transition is internal. As it happens, I'm having lots of opportunity for transition before the actual change happens. I don't know yet if this is good, bad, or simply just is. Certainly there is much transition work going on internally, at least some of which is the work of the Spirit. I hope it's mostly the work of the Spirit.
Three years ago, if I had been told I was going to be a solo pastor in a church that averages 75 in worship, I would have jumped for joy. I keep reminding myself of that. People keep asking me if I'm excited about the new church. I will be in time, but right now I'm still grieving that which is ending - an important part of the transition.
In the coming weeks I'll share more about where I'm going here in this blog, but I want to wait until I can do it with less frustration over what might have been and more excitement about what might be.