It’s been far too long since I’ve felt like writing here. Those who know me well would understand that when I’m silent, I am processing and gaining understanding. This past year has given me much to contemplate and sort out, and I haven’t had the words to put together to encapsulate my complete thoughts much of the time, mainly because my thoughts haven’t felt complete.
This puts me in mind of the Matrix movie. For those who are Matrix fans, you’ll remember that Neo learns entire new skills by a program being downloaded into his “main frame”/brain. Neo’s learning happens in a flash…. Me, on the other hand, my new programming can take a long time to process, especially when it’s undoing old learning and re-programming me to think in completely new ways.
I can’t actually say I’m finished yet, with the re-programming, but I have had some breakthroughs in the last couple of months that I do think I’m ready to begin sharing, even while still in process. The major breakthrough I’ve had seems to have become a theme for me during this season, and it is: “There’s no way out but through.”
I feel like I should have learned this so many years ago, and truly, maybe it’s just been a progression of learning it over time and life’s experiences. However, this past year, in particular, as well as some specific challenges that have presented themselves to me and/or some family over the last few months, have made this truth hit home in an entirely new way. I feel like I’ve been forced to sit with this and reckon with it from a fresh perspective and that God has truly been working in my life circumstances to really bring this home as a part of my truth and understanding of living into all that God uses to transform me/us into who He meant us to be from the start.
This truth can actually be summarized as how we learn the virtue of perseverance. We all have to face the facts at some point in our lives that there are situations that can’t be avoided or short-cutted. Sometimes, we just have to do the hard work of slowly working through a tough time in order to get through to the other side.
I have experienced this directly in the last few months with an experience of choosing to take a side road to get out of a traffic backup. I have to laugh now, but at the time, it was a situation that sent me straight to praying out loud and singing hymns from my childhood to help me persevere through the dark, snowy night and the twists and turns on a gravel road that definitely wasn’t made for two cars at a time. I journeyed through backroads that put me in mind of terrible movies like Deliverance and crime shows like Criminal Minds. I gripped hard to the steering wheel, all the while thanking God for every sign of civilization I came across and asking Him for safety and relief from the blinding snow (the kind where you feel like you’ve suddenly chosen to travel at light speed in the Millennium Falcon). The same thought rang through the back of my mind that entire hour on that detour I chose to take….there is no way out of this except to keep pressing forward until the end, which I was hoping would get me back to the highway and on the other side of the traffic backup (and it did).
There are so many circumstances in life to which I’ve been realizing this applies. I see it in mine and my husband’s mid-life transition with moving, changing careers, letting go of our children into their adult lives, and helping our parents prepare for the letting go of their Earthly lives. This is a transition that is taking waayyy too long, in my opinion, but, there’s no way out of it but through it.
Thinking more outside of our individual life situations, looking at the difficulties we have been facing as a nation and all across our world, the same truth applies. Whether it’s COVID or race relations or national and global policy and politics, there are simply things we need to do the hard work of learning from, growing through, and being transformed into something better, people who were intended to be more than who we are and who we have been, people more like our Brother Christ and more like the Creator meant for us to be when we first entered into this life.
So, in all this, I have to ask myself what is going on here that God wants to use for change, for good for all of us….not that God is causing it, not at all….but what is going on that brought us to this juncture, this mountain we have to climb that has no way of circumventing it? Something, or things, led us here to these moments in time, choices we made have ended up bringing about these consequences….because to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. We are in these consequences of our own making, but what does it say about what we need to learn from it, how we can grow through it, and ultimately, what good can God bring about if we allow Him to transform us by persevering through all of this, doing the hard work required to change, and leaning into the hope of finding all of the world a better place on the other side of it because of our choice to accept that we must go through it and not take any shortcuts this time?
“As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.” (Ecclesiastes 11:5)