[bl]T[/bl]here are places that take you from here to there. The places in between where you’re leaving, and where you’re going. The unknown places where you’re searching, understanding, discovering, grieving, exploring, resting, anticipating.
These places are bittersweet. They can taste of insecurity and loneliness. Or fear and unknowing. Sorrow and doubt. Anxiety with deep excitement. Complacency and fatigue. Hope and longing. Even pain and suffering. But when you depart from this in between place and you finally enter into your new reality – a new way of living — a seed of appreciation takes root. And you become thankful for the sorrow that led you to your knees. The doubt that convinced you of what you really believe. The loneliness that showed you real companionship. The unknowing that freed you from control. The fear that made you seek perfect love. The complacency that propelled you to live more fully.
Transitions, they are never easy. But they are places where we grow. I’m not just talking about switching houses, though it’s my current transition that has me writing this. That has me realizing that grace is needed in transitions. That more than ever, we need people and places to be environments of grace during our in-between places.
Our family slept at my parent’s the week we moved into our new house. I have endured many transitions in that home that was never my home. Their house is special to our family because it’s the place that held us, rested us and equipped us each time we returned from Uganda. My parents will always be home to me, no matter where they are. But that particular house, the comfortable (and a little luxurious!) environment surrounded us with love when we left everything normal. When we lost a close friend and faced grief for the first time. When we prepared to return to a place where fear lost its battle to joy. When we moved back to the familiar, unknown place of home.
Transitions happen all the time. When a parent loses a child and is forced to learn a new reality. When a husband loses a job and stability is threatened. When a new mother births life for the first time. When a family experiences the divorce of love. When a child begins at a new school. When the one who raised you dies. When you leave home. When you move to a new place to serve. When you welcome to your family a child born of another mother. When anxiety sneaks in and becomes a new and unwelcome companion. When you find a traditional job that replaces your eccentric lifestyle. When the one you love the most is lost from you forever.
We are a people continually walking through transitions because brokenness and healing continually takes us to new places.
And it’s in these places of transition where we contract and become more complete, ready for new life. Ready for redemption. Ready for blessing.
How can you be an environment of grace for someone transitioning to new life?
Pray. And don’t just say you’ll do it, really do it.
Don’t have expectations of them.
Seek them out, don’t wait for them to come to you.
Invite them over.
Give them a home.
Feed them a meal.
Feed them love.
Treat them to a time of rest.
Ask them what they need.
Be a resource for them.
Let them vent.
Cry with them.
Don’t minimize the struggle.
There are people all around you walking through one of these in-between places. Be a friend to them. Be an environment where they are welcomed and feel the freedom to grow.