Our son, Wallace, turned eighteen on Tuesday. It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed since that first encounter in the wee hours of the morning –– after 23 hours of labor –– that this amazing young man is was once the tiny, helpless, ‘burrito baby’ I learned to wrap so carefully to keep him feeling warm and safe. I have, of course, snapshot memories of the intervening years, delightful and challenging moments that contributed to making him who he is and, frankly, me who I am. So often time simply slips along without my being conscious of the myriad changes that occurred between then and now.
As much as I missed the ending of any particular beloved stage along the way, the next with all its unknowns was quickly taking its place. The emerging and letting go were woven and blended into as one present unfolding into the next. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t hold on to any one place along the way we’ve journeyed, any more than I can hold onto water. Instead, I simply keep delighting in what has been, enjoying what is and trusting in the more to come.
Last night some 80 of us gathered to eat, pray, sing and share together with our chief pastor and teacher, Bishop Jeffrey Lee, at our Walk in Wednesday Supper—and a huge thank you to all who helped make it such a wonderful evening. The whole of his extended meditation is here, which I highly commend to you, but I resonated especially with his extended quote from, of all places, the TV show Gray’s Anatomy:
When we say things like “People don’t change” it drives scientists crazy. Because change is literally the only constant in all of science. Energy, matter, it’s always changing. Morphing. Merging. Growing. Dying. It’s the way people try not to change that’s unnatural. The way we cling to what things were instead of letting them be what they are. The way we cling to old memories instead of forming new ones. The way we insist on believing, despite every scientific indication, that anything in this lifetime is permanent. Change is constant. How we experience change, that’s up to us. It can feel like death, or it can feel like a second chance at life. If we open our fingers, loosen our grips, go with it, it can feel like pure adrenaline. Like at any moment we can have another chance at life. Like at any moment, we can be born all over again.
Jeff was exploring with us the life of transformation that Jesus invites us into—an ongoing process of letting go so that we can move into the greater space called resurrection life. This is a reality that not only happens when we physically die, it is something we practice all the way through our lives. It means that when we come to that final ‘letting go’ that is death, we are unafraid because we’ve experienced being ‘caught’ by love over and over again. As hard as this is for our ego, it is what leads to an abundant life, to a life deeply rooted in the joy Jesus yearns for us all to be grounded in.
It is this life that we seek to embrace and encourage one another to know and experience here at St. Simon’s, however imperfectly. We hold our annual giving season during this season of Epiphany each year as a reminder that our generosity emerges as a response to the gift of Jesus the Christ who manifests what living this life looks like and continually reaches out to us and invites us to join, over and over again.
May the unfolding of our lives open us, and the world around us, to ever greater depths of love and joy that we cannot yet fathom, even as one in the womb cannot fathom all that is to come. All it takes is to let go and trust in Love.