One of my favorite books is William Bridge’s book, Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes. I love his book because he wrote it first in his 40’s and rewrote it in his 70’s when as he says, “I actually had learned something about how transitions work!” It’s a book that has helped me identify my particular passion and call to work with communities and individuals in times of transition and change as an interim pastor.
One of the most challenging parts of transition is the “neutral zone” – that time between what has been and what will be. As this can be an uncomfortable time for many of us, sometimes we choose to just get it over with and leap to a premature “ending”. Bridge’s cautions against such jumping ahead and notes that the time in the “neutral zone” has its own sense of time. Instead of rushing it and reacting to our discomfort, we need to trust in the “neutral zone” in order to fully ingest its gifts, to let it transform us and find the next step that is truly life-giving.
I’ve been reminded of this reality as I read this morning’s “Portland Press Herald” and the CDC report that on Tuesday Maine had 571 new cases of COVID-19, the highest daily total since late January. Two additional deaths; hospitalizations on the rise. We are seeing similar spikes around the country as well.
“Don’t declare victory prematurely, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Monday. “We’ve got to wait a big longer until we get enough vaccine into people that will clearly blunt any surge.”
We are in the time of in-between. We are excited and expectant, impatient and ready to move on. And yes, amidst the sobering news of today, there is good news with the number us of who have had one or two vaccines on the rise.
The preacher in me is reminded of the words of the prophet Isaiah,
“Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
What if now is an opportunity to not rush but reflect?….
What does it mean to come through this time wisely?
What lessons have we learned from this past year that we don’t want to forget?
What practices do we want to continue?
What might a new normal, a new ethos, look like when we gather together again? Go well, be well.