Change is in the air. A new school year is here, and this time around I hug both of my boys good-bye before they enter those big doors, backpacks thumping against their little legs. (Is it just me or does the cuteness factor of a 4 year old sky- rocket the second you place a backpack over their shoulders?)
I don’t want to let go of summer — who ever does? I’ll confess that I have never been great with change. The seasons come and go every year and yet each time I’m grasping at them, trying to keep things the same. I’m like a whiny toddler – But but but…I don’t wanna let go!! Eventually my body and my mind stop resisting the inevitable and I begin to accept what is happening. Like those white dandelion puffs my boys love to blow into the wind, I watch what was float away. Goodbye spontaneous afternoons at the lake. Goodbye jean shorts and ball caps. Goodbye Tuesdays at the soccer field and picnics for dinner and the little bit of pink that stayed on your nose all summer.
And look, now our hands are empty but they are open. Maybe even with fresh anticipation. What does this new season have in store, I wonder? Good things can take time, like the spaghetti sauce that’s been bubbling on my stove for a couple of hours now.
I wanted to share a poem I discovered this summer that speaks so beautifully to change, to the process of being in transformation. Not yet what we want to be, not yet where we want to be.
It was written by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1880-1955), who was a French philosopher and Jesuit priest. When I came across this poem I fell in love with it immediately. The wisdom he shares is something I want to hold on to through every season.
Trust in the Slow Work of God
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way
to something unknown, something new.
Yet it is the law of all progress that is made
by passing through some stages of instability
and that may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually. Let them grow.
Let them shape themselves without undue haste.
Do not try to force them on
as though you could be today what time
— that is to say, grace —
— acting on your own good will —
will make you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new Spirit
gradually forming in you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God,
our loving vine-dresser. Amen