I have been experiencing this Summer as a time of passage. I bet many of us have. Our year of pandemic lockdown, with the ongoing transitions and adjustments, has been so challenging. It feels like I have to work extra hard to be patient or relaxed or silly. But this faithful attention to my inner life is not just a by-product of these times, it is vital to live in 2021 and beyond.
Thomas Moore has something to say about passage,
“You don’t go through a passage once and for all. You have repeated experiences that stun you briefly, cause you to rethink your life and your identity, and be in the world in a different way.”
Loss, for example, is a type of passage. We all know loss, each of us grieving the people and events of our lives in our own way. This shared pandemic experience, however, leads us through a passage at the same time, stuns us and causing some rethinking, at the same time, and teaches us how to be in the world in a different way, all at the same time.
Last month, I mentioned counting the days to see our eldest son, in person, after a 20 month separation. He was born 4 years after my mother died, following her life of waist-down paralysis from a car accident. As I gather my son and daughter-in-law in my arms, we will be sharing love, an adventure and, at the same time, a reminder of the great gift of family connection…all shining more brightly due to this extended separation. Our passage as a family has indeed caused me to rethink my life and identity, and reconsider another of Moore’s lessons…legacy. He tells us,
“A legacy can activate your heart and expand your vision…The sense of leaving a legacy can fit into the rhythm by offering not just an ending, but a feeling of completion…legacy is not about the size of our impact on those who will come after us, but only the fact of having been significant to someone.”
As I count the days until I hug my eldest son, I wonder what passages you have experienced? What transitions have stunned you into deeper reflection? And on this new day, what legacy activates your heart and calls to you? How will your energy, your light, be present to others in the world? I do know that every bit of hope that we each can muster will make a difference. Let us join our hearts in the quiet moments, trusting God, praying for each other.
“In the stillness of the quiet, if we listen, we can hear the whisper of the heart giving strength to weakness, courage to fear, and hope to despair.” Howard Thurman