He’s six now, in that stage of life where you lose your top two front teeth. He’s only lost one of those top ones so far, and one on the bottom, adjacent to it. He’s definitely snaggle-toothed and what we all know is that losing those baby teeth is a turning. It is just one of the signs moving a baby boy into childhood.
Another baby boy in my life just got married. Even after college, while in this first year in the military, he’s come home often to his boyhood room still filled with Grapevine High School and Aggie Band Corps of Cadets memorabilia. It was just after his wedding a few weeks ago, that I went in there to straighten it up after his stay in the nights before the wedding and it dawned on me that he is all finished in coming home to us in quite that same way. It felt like a turning.
Remember when time used to stand still? I remember as a girl waiting for Christmas or my birthday or to turn 16 or to leave for college. It took forever for those times to get here. My pregnancies seemed excruciatingly long with each of our three kids. But now, our chapters seem to fly by, the milestones crowd one another out with the next one right on the heels of the one before.
Today it finally got cool for a minute in Texas. Maybe fall will come and leaf or two will turn gold, red or orange. God’s creation has a way of reflecting real life. Seasons change, leaves fall, we move on.
What is it for you that is turning right now? Are you entering a new season of life? Moving from where you’ve been to a new place? Watching a child grow up? Saying goodbye to something familiar? Incorporating a new diagnosis or physical reality into your life? Learning to live with a loss of some sort?
A counselor told me last week, “In times of transition, spiritual activity is at its highest. Pay attention to God.”
I’m so thankful for wise guides, counselors, pastors and friends in my life who point out what I sometimes miss. Otherwise, it would be so easy to get caught up in the transitions and turnings themselves that I might miss what God is doing there.
I could focus on the loss of a sweet boy’s baby teeth, grieve a grown-up son moving on or any other turning and miss God.
What is happening for you in the turning you are experiencing right now? Are you fighting it all the way? Are you missing something? Are you awake? What are telling yourself about the turning?
The stories we tell ourselves about change matter. “The stories remembered (and told) within a community can either separate us through fear, mistrust, and resentment or bind us with empathy, generosity, and self-sacrifice.” (Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us by Mark Yaconelli, p. 124.)
Life is all about the turning. It is about seeing God at work and being awake enough to notice and to be a part of it.
What are you telling yourself right now? “The world can be terrifying, wonderful, repulsive, wounding, comforting–sometimes all at once…..Stories can expand the boundaries of the heart to hold the chaos, the betrayals, the destructive absurdities with a sense of grace, resiliency, and moral courage. Or they can shrink us to become brittle, fearful, destructive.” (Between the Listening and the Telling, p. 126.)
It is happening whether we like it or not, the turning, the transitions, the new seasons. Who will we be as the pages turn? What will we see and say about it?
I know this, I want to be awake. I want to see God in it all. I want to embrace the moving of dirt, the change of the leaves, the new life and the milestones with a sense of hope and expectancy. I want my life, and our shared life together, to tell the story of how we faced change with grace, faith, courage and resiliency.
In the turning, the stories we tell about ourselves, matter. I want to be part of a good, big, shared story about God’s grace, don’t you?
Dr. Cindy Ryan is a pastor, wife, mother of three, breast cancer survivor and Mosa to snaggle-toothed Keller, Pace and River. To read more blogs, see upcoming speaking events and to sign up for Cindy’s Inner Circle Monthly Top Ten list go to http://www.drcindyryanblog.com. Women: you are invited to two different upcoming Women’s Retreats hosted by United Methodist congregations. Check out registration details there under upcoming events.