Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Yay! Summertime!

So, I am staring down the barrel of the first summer of freedom in many, many years-- and it's freaking me out a little bit! I mean, I'm not doing nothing, but it's not at all like summers before I was in school, or the summers during school. This kind of feels...well...settled. I guess I haven't felt settled in a while. Well, I feel settled while all around me, everything seems to be rushing--

And that brings to mind the word transition again. So many of the people in my life, both personally and professionally, are in serious transition. My college kids are in serious transition in multiple, mind-numbing ways-- it sometimes occurs to me that they are pretty much champions and they have no idea, just traversing the waters of your late teens/early 20's: they are working their way from high school to college (or full time job) mentality; living at home and relying fully upon parents to getting out on their own (or beginning to feel the responsibility to get out on their own) and figuring out how to survive as an adult; dating with no real possibility or expectation of "permanence" to dating that could possibly lead to marriage (and all of the other complications that come with dating when you aren't 100% accountable to your parents any more); going to church every week because your parents will cut your butt off without a dime if you aren't completely active in youth group to going to church because there is something inside you gnawing away at your peace and you need God and relationships and all that being in church can bring. The faith of your parents is now not good enough. They have to make it their own. And while those things are huge, there's so much more. Figuring out your post-high school identity, rethinking friendships, stocking your own refrigerator....

My students are in serious transition, too, and I am thinking of trying to tackle that theme in a few units this year-- I don't know that the 9th graders will get it as quickly as the 10th graders will-- sometimes it's harder to see things when you are swimming in the middle of it all.We'll see. But they are transitioning from middle school to high school, they are transitioning (if in church) to older youth groups and friends who can drive. I watch them transition from short little squirts with bad hair at the beginning of the year to slightly taller squirts with marginally better hair-- some change significantly. Their hormones are changing, intensifying-- kids who never noticed the opposite sex are suddenly completely useless because of it. The course work in high school is different-- the expectations from adults in every arena change. What was good enough just a few months ago (even weeks ago) isn't good enough now. I imagine that their heads are spinning. It's so sudden. Can be so incredibly stressful.

I have colleagues in transition-- retirement, promotions, moves across the country, horizontal transitions. Packing up offices and loading up cars, subtle changes in paradigm (what is intensely important to one person in the final staff meeting of the year is of little or no consequence to the person on their right or left).

And for those of us in the world of education, we get these pauses between paragraphs-- summertime. Time to clean out Joshua's room. Time to invest in a better blender and visit my sister-in-love and my gorgeous baby Chandler. Time to make dates with Don and see them through (how do we forget to do dates after only 6 1/2 years? Everyone knows you're supposed to do dates...). Time to get the car fixed, mow the lawn, spend time with our parents, find time to visit my brother and other baby niece, write in my journal again (me only, no adoring public), do an intense bible study...and be prepared to go through the multi-level, never-ending mind bender that is the school year in just a few weeks.

But Jesus? He never, ever changes. He doesn't change. He walks with us through the transitions, guiding us and talking us through it. He, who has lived through every change that has ever occurred in the history of mankind, does not change offices. His personality and sense of humor do not change slightly as He begins spending time with new people. He does not become unreasonably indifferent to the things that you used to be able to talk with Him about. He does not transfer and lose touch or interest in your life. He does not develop new and better friends. He does not change. He does not change. He is just as gorgeously kind and beautiful, gentle and wise and strong, as He was the first time you met Him...

What an incredible comfort. He isn't static-- it's not like He is some stone Buddha, forever changeless in a marble room draped in incense. No, it's simply this: He is so dynamic, so enormous, so infinite in person, that we will spend eternity learning who He is...we will grow in our understanding of Him, perhaps transitioning into new seasons of relationship with Him, but we will only ever see Him increase while we decrease into His perfection...but He never changes. Never. So lovely.

Thank you, Lord, for being so full of integrity and perfection. Thank you for holding my hand through these transitions-- surrounded by those transitioning, you take away that feeling of being a way-station, turning and turning like a carousel. You are solid but not silent. You are ever moving, but never changing. I need you and I love you.

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