Given what time does to us, it is remarkable we forget what we do. The pains of childbirth, the aches of running when we are not runners, the strain of pressure we thought we could handle but recognize far too late is not our cup of tea.
Again. And again. Our minds recoil and snap back to a reality before our downfalls, and we repeat the same mistakes, the same pains, and the same heartbreaks. Again and again.
I forget how painful change feels until I am past the point of no turning back. The change has occurred, a few steps ahead of me I move, and only then do I look back and realize the cutting off that has occurred. Like deadheading a rose on a beautiful bush, we prune what is slowly dying to begin to grow something new again. It changes the dynamic of our soul, whether we agree to like it or not, and it is a shift in our nature to move toward the sheers of cutting and dismembering to only recreate and regrow.
Like slicing through flesh to expose the infection, we gravitate towards fresh pain to enact a necessary change.
We sat this morning on our couch, like we have for Sundays on end to be with the Church virtually. It has not been easy. For people like us who actively serve in the church body every Sunday, we have been shoved in a different direction, where our service is forced outside walls that are expertly crafted. Instead, we attempt to engage with others who are much like us in these days of COVID where time is irrationally slow and impossibly difficult to remember. We rise to greet the screen, and I find myself surprised every time when God meets me where I am courageous enough to meet Him. We resist change when it feels like a war against our familiar. Yet that’s what we see our Creator doing, page after page after page in His story. Pruning, cutting, destroying, only to rebuild to create something better.
It is painful to change what we didn’t agree to lift the knife to embark on new life.
The moment it happens, the test begins. We don’t like the pain of change because it means revealing a truer part of ourselves that we can easily hide when we’ve memorized the landscape of our expectations. When we know the way, we take the easier path. It’s when the blade is through that the path changes, the landscape shifts, and the vision we held is lifted. Instead of being clothed with our belongings, we’ve got nothing to hold onto. We gather ourselves and everything our arms can hold. The fresh pains of change are like a dismemberment of our capabilities, reversing what we’ve always known, giving us a backward sense of what we’ve always believed to be true.
To sum up my world for this day and nearly every day for a year, it would be this: fresh pain of change.
I forgot what it was for things to shift nearly out of my control. I forgot what it felt to be uncomfortable in a new natural order of things within my life. I forgot what the pain of pruning feels like on a weary soul.
No one likes this much. It reminds me of the moments right before my youngest, Rosie, was born. I was careening in pain through the contractions. I remember laying on the bed, exhausted from feeling ready to meet this new life and also terrified at what it means to give birth. The contractions stopped for a moment. I was helpless to the pain. I was helpless to the inevitable. Whether I wanted it or not, this baby girl was coming into the world. But I didn’t want to be there anymore. I wanted to escape from the pain and reality that was seconds within my reach.
What is fresh pain is also an avenue for the way forward. A birthright to our life. A coming of age into our own humanity. It hurts like hell yet dawns on us a possibility of becoming.
The fresh pain of change means new life is coming.