|Fear of Transformation
From The Essene Book of Days by Danaan Parry
Sometimes I feel that my life is a series of trapeze swings. I’m either hanging on to a trapeze bar swinging along or, for a few moments in my life, I’m hurtling across space in between trapeze bars.
Most of the time, I spend my life hanging on for dear life to my trapeze-bar-of-the-moment. It carries me along a certain steady rate of swing and I have the feeling that I’m in control of my life. I know most of the right questions and even some of the right answers. But once in a while, as I’m merrily (or not so merrily) swinging along, I look ahead of me into the distance, and what do I see? I see another trapeze bar swinging toward me. It’s empty, and I know, in that place that knows, that this new trapeze bar has my name on it. It is my next step, my growth, my aliveness going to get me. In my heart-of-hearts I know that for me to grow, I must release my grip on the present, well known bar to move to the new one.
Each time it happens to me, I hope (no, I pray) that I won’t have to grab the new one. But in my knowing place I know that I must totally release my grasp on my old bar, and for some moment in time hurtle across space before I can grab onto the new bar. Each time I am filled with terror. It doesn’t matter that in all my previous hurtles across the void of unknowing, I have always made it. Each time I am afraid I will miss, that I will be crushed on the unseen rocks in the bottomless chasm between the bars. But I do it anyway. Perhaps this is the essence of what the mystics call the faith experience. No guarantees, no net, no insurance policy, but you do it anyway because somehow, to keep hanging onto that old bar is no longer on the list of alternatives. And so for an eternity that can last a microsecond or a thousand lifetimes, I soar across the dark void of “the past is gone, the future is not yet here.” It’s called transition. I have come to believe that it is the only place that real change occurs. I mean real change, not the pseudo-change that only lasts until the next time my old buttons get punched.
I have noticed that, in our culture, this transition zone is looked upon as a “no-thing”, a no-place between places. Sure the old trapeze-bar was real, and that new one coming towards me, I hope that’s real too. But the void in between? That’s just a scary, confusing, disorienting “nowhere” that must be gotten through as fast as unconsciously as possible. What a waste! I have a sneaking suspicion that the transition zone is the only real thing, and the bars are illusions we dream up to avoid, where the real change, the real growth occurs for us. Whether or not my hunch is true, it remains that the transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. Yes, with all the pain and fear and feelings of being out-of-control that can (but not necessarily) accompany transitions, they are still the most alive, most growth-filled, passionate, expansive moments in our lives.
And so, transformation of fear may have nothing to do with making fear go away, but rather with giving ourselves permission to “hang- out” in the transition between trapeze bars. Transforming our need to grab that new bar, any bar, is allowing ourselves to dwell in the only place where change really happens. It can be terrifying. It can also be enlightening, in the true sense of the word. Hurtling through the void, we just may learn how to fly.
From: Our Daily Bread
If our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. —1 John 3:20
Bible in a Year:
Exodus 36-38; Matthew 23:1-22
Recently I read about a private investigator in the US who would knock on a door, show his badge to whoever answered, and say, “I guess we don’t have to tell you why we’re here.” Many times, the person would look stunned and say, “How did you find out?” then go on to describe an undiscovered criminal act committed long ago. Writing inSmithsonian magazine, Ron Rosenbaum described the reaction as “an opening for the primal force of conscience, the telltale heart’s internal monologue.”
We all know things about ourselves that no one else knows—failures, faults, sins—that although confessed to God and forgiven by Him may come back to accuse us again and again. John, one of Jesus’ close followers, wrote about God’s love for us and the call to follow His commands, saying: “By this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things” (1 John 3:19-20).
Our confidence toward God grows out of His love and forgiveness in Christ, not our performance in life. “We know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” (v.24).
God, who knows everything about us, is greater than our self-condemnation.
No condemnation now I dread,
I am my Lord’s and He is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine. —Wesley
The one who receives Christ will never receive God’s condemnation.
In the shadows
I know a couple who have just had their third miscarriage. In two of those painful losses, they’ve held a perfectly formed, lifeless little body in their hands. While there’s much light in this world—beauty, goodness, joy—there are also the shadows of sadness, evil, and suffering.
Sometimes we wonder where God is in the midst of our pain.
But look at the people to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection. Mary Magdalene stood before a cold, empty tomb on Easter Sunday (John 20:11). She was weak with grief. The horror of witnessing the crucifixion of the innocent Man she loved was made worse by the apparent theft of His body from the grave (John 20:2).
Peter, fishing with his friends, felt bewildered by all that had happened since Jesus’ crucifixion (John 21:1-3). He also felt ashamed. For he had declared that he would follow Jesus anywhere but ended up denying his Lord three times (John 18:17,25-27).
Thomas, sitting with the disciples, was filled with doubt—wondering if it was really true that Jesus would live again (John 20:24-25).
Mary, Cleopas, Peter, Thomas—all of them in the shadows. And that’swhere Jesus met them. Soon Mary and Cleopas saw Jesus with their own eyes and their grief and disappointment disappeared (Luke 24:30-32;John 20:12-16). Soon Peter saw Jesus and had his shame removed (John 21:7,15-19). Soon Thomas saw Jesus and had his doubts dispelled (John 20:26-28).
Life’s shadow moments can cause us to doubt God’s goodness or even His existence. Instead, may they draw us closer to Him.