If I had to sum up the life journey in a few words, I think I would choose hope (what keeps us in the game)…then transformation (growth)…and ultimately, holiness (peace with God, neighbor, and self).
My experience and observation would suggest that the transformation/growth part happens in stages. We go to a seminar or a seminary or retreat. We meet or lose a special someone. We read an earth-shaking book. We are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. However it happens, we wake up in a different place.
I was at a seminar in Birmingham. The speaker/presenter was the late, great, John Claypool. Having converted from a childhood in the Baptist Church to the Episcopal Church, Claypool became known for his appreciation of grace, his buttery-smooth delivery and his piercing insight.
Insight for the day (in paraphrase):
“You know, we all start out in a little room—our mother’s womb. It is warm…safe…comfortable. All our needs are met. But one day a traumatic event occurs—we are thrust into a bigger room…the delivery room to be exact. Bright lights, noise, cold. We cry, “We want to go back!” But in time, we adjust We get used to “the new digs”…accustomed to a world of Mom’s nursing and Dad’s knee bouncing and siblings’ sparring. Life’s good. But then the day comes when we are yanked out and thrust into yet a bigger room—school. It is strangers and books, lunch and recess, and teachers and homework. Yikes! But, over time, we adjust….”
Claypool talks of other rooms—leaving home, marriage, work, retirement, and inevitably Heaven. His point: that growth is a process of moving from smaller rooms to bigger rooms. Call them chapters or stages, but the move from one to the next will be uncomfortable at best, excruciating at worst. It’s a trauma… a new perspective…a gnawing dissatisfaction. But something makes the old status quo unacceptable.
What room are you in at present? Does it light your fires and bring you joy? Maybe you’re in a new room with a mix of discomfort, excitement and fear. Maybe you are in transition.
Wherever you are, count on it: there will come a time when you have to change rooms. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s just the way we grow.
Keith — 3/16/2013