Sometimes change is illusive other times obvious. Some change is welcomed while other change is feared. There are times when we beg and plead for things to change and perhaps, just as often, feel we would do anything to avoid the discomfort of navigating change. Whether we are talking about parenting, employment, aging, the weather, an illness or disease, the way a community gathers or worships, the songs we sing, or the prayers we speak regardless, the reality is change is the one constant in our lives.
If you have been in downtown Toledo lately you have most likely seen some very “obvious” signs of change. On one side of us the walkway over Summit Street connecting our garage to the Imagination Station is now gone (poof!), and today the work of removing more of their building prior to the construction of the new 250+ seat KeyBank Discovery Imax Theater is well underway (see image). And on the other side, Adams St. is shut down and completely torn up for some long-term and extensive infrastructure upgrades.
Likewise, if you attended the first Zingerman’s Vision Workshop earlier this month, you were invited into a process based on a different kind of change. This change, while not external, at least to begin with, encourages each of us to embrace change through the gift of imagining the possibilities of Trinity in 2030. Tomorrow morning (Saturday, June 29 9:00-10:30am), all are invited to join me in My Brother’s Place for a follow-up conversation sharing the process we learned and some of our initial “imaginings”.
As I think about the change all around and inside us, I find myself having two distinct reactions; first, I hate messes, and second, I love the birth of new things.
I share this because these two reactions have always felt obviously contradictory, and yet I am beginning to realize they are really inseparable, and in fact, maybe two sides of the same coin.
From the time before our ancestor’s ancestors began to tell the story of creation, never has there been an instance in which something new and wonderful wasn’t born out of the void, the mess, the chaos, the inconvenience, the noise, the disruption, the disarray, the turmoil, the disappointment, the frustration, the impatience or the general pandemonium. Large or small, made of human hands or Holy Spirit, the creative process is predicated on change and therefore a time between what is and what is yet to be. In theological circles that time is sometimes identified as the time of transformation, the movement of God in our midst. And oh how helpful that is to me, when I am just prone to call things a “red hot mess.”
So, if you too, hate messes and times of unknowing – you are not alone. What I invite you to consider is a slightly revised point of view and one that I am trying earnestly to embrace as we walk through our vision process as well as live through the chaos of downtown construction. When anxiety starts to creep up, I have started to say to myself- “Welcome, Holy Spirit- glad to see and feel this creative energy alive and well all around us!” Let’s let all this change find a home in us trusting the journey before us leading us right through the necessity of some really big messes. And then, not unlike the story we read in Genesis, may we arrive safely at the place of newness together, seeing it is good. Perhaps we will look around and give thanks when we can finally see what has been there all along, the presence of a God who loves us, winking back at us and with a divine grin, assuring us that we were never alone or forgotten.
May you never forget that you are loved,