Embracing this season of change with prayer
During one of my walks recently, I strolled among the gardens at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in Northeast Washington. It is one of my favorite spots for a quiet prayerful walk. There was more activity on Saturday than I cared for but the visitors were generally subdued in their conversations, so I could still enjoy my solitude as I walked with my heart open to receive fresh insight from God.
My hour-long sojourn took me along the hilly paths and though the valley where a photographer was staging photos of a bride and groom. The sun shone warmly on the wild flowers and pink roses near the couple and some of the surrounding trees displayed their changing colors. I paused to examine the ripe pomegranates hanging from a tree, while recalling childhood memories of cracking open the fruit and savoring its sweet juice.
Near the end of my walk, I stopped to take pictures of red and yellow rose bushes that seem to be hanging on to the last vestiges of their once glorious life. After taking a picture of a yellow rose, something crystallized for me that led me to see in that moment that the rose and I shared a similar circumstance. We both were living through a season of change in our lives and getting ready to transition to the next thing. One season was ending and making room for something new to eventually bloom. The rose bush at least knew that its process would take it through dormancy for several months before it new buds began to show.
But I am not sure yet what I am transitioning to, and that’s okay with me. Three years ago, I stretched pretty quickly from working more than 30 years as a journalist to becoming a partner in an upstart business and then also assuming a volunteer leadership role in a religious organization. (A role that seemed at times like a full-time job.). Their seasons, at least in their current iterations, are almost over. As I look back,I recognize that both those opportunities have helped me grow in ways I had not imagined before being involved in them.
I am ready to embrace the change that is coming to my life; eager to see what new paths God will lead me on. Ready to live what God is calling me to be. Since seeing the fading roses, I have been thinking a lot about change and what it means for me and for those around me. One of the things that my own life has taught me is that when one season ends another surely begins and that we get to determine if the new season will be fruitful or fallow. Prayer, especially listening to God, has become key for me during such times, and it is one of the suggestions I readily make to those I talk with who are going through–or stuck in– their own transitions.
The Bible in Ecclesiastes tells us, “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”
As I pray about my own changes, I also am praying for relatives and friends who are experiencing rough patches in their lives right now; those for whom long-ago hurts bring present pain; those whose physical ailments seem to last from one season to the next; and those who are about to begin their lives anew. This is a hard season for many because of unemployment, financial hardships and lingering grief. I am praying that during this period of their lives they will draw closer to God, the ultimate change agent.
My prayers today include this one from found in Philippians 4 : 6-7 as written in the book, Praying Paul’s Letters from Elmer L. Towns:
”Lord, I won’t worry about anything,
But I’ll pray to You about everything.
And I’ll be thankful for all things that happen.
Then, Your peace will guard my heart and mind
Because the presence of Christ Jesus in my life
Surpasses anything that could ever understand.” Amen