“Betwixt & Between: Thoughts for Passing Through”
Albert Einstein once said, “In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity.” It is obvious that this time of pandemic and injustice protest has thrust life into a critical, crisis-oriented passage between what was our “before” and what, after passing through, will hopefully emerge as a healthier (physically and societally) “after.”
The word “crisis” comes from the Greek word meaning “to separate” and “to sift through” and includes the idea of passing judgment in order to discern what to carry forward, what to leave behind and what new to add into the mix. The result: a revised, re-visioned, renewed way of living for better or worse. Don’t we prefer “better”?
Times of major transition, like we are all experiencing during this time offer a unique opportunity to consider Life Before, Life During and Life After to help us move through the natural cycle of Order, Disorder, Reorder that is organic to re-creation and renewal. While an obvious outcome during this time is a critical confrontation with the capability of our “systems” to work optimally for the health, safety and benefit of all individuals and the communities they are to serve, it is an excellent time to conduct some personal discernment. Developing something called an “examen” is a personal discernment tool that is helpful.
An “examen” is defined as a devotional exercise involving reflection (examination) and moral evaluation of one’s thoughts and conduct, originating from the Latin
examen meaning a “weighing out.” Offered here is a suggested brief approach to such an examen. Use it for yourself individually, perhaps with your spouse/significant other or immediate family, but critically as Mother Teresa might advise, start with your own life. The goal: discerning a rhythm of life (life-style) that is healthy, hopeful, graceful and generative as you are passing through this between time and living into a yet to come after this passage. If you choose to “play” with this tool, please do it with a positive, non-self-or-other-judgmental mindset. Be both thoughtful and creative. A confession: I put this together quickly and randomly so feel free to add, subtract and modify this exercise to reflect your needs and goals since, after all, this is YOUR LIFE!
Reflect on Life before this crisis/transition time
Questions to consider as you reflect on life now during this transition time
- What in the rhythm (the ordering) of my life has remained the same?
- What has changed?
- In what ways have I felt my life has been diminished during this time?
- What “losses” am I mourning?
- What old ways have changed about which I feel relieved?
- In what ways have I felt my life has been enhanced during this time?
- What old ways have I experienced more deeply, more abundantly?
- What new ways have I explored that have become important to me, that I would rather not give up?
- What have I learned about my needs, longings and “wants” during this time?
- What old ideas, values have been confronted during this time? What am I being asked to change? How do I feel about that?
- What have I discovered about myself during this time that I like or that I don’t like?
- What might I consider letting go of when this time is behind me?
- What do I want to carry forward when this time is past?
- What am I being called to “do” and how am I called to “be” differently beyond this time?
- Where is God in all of this? What do I believe God’s prayer is for me during this time? and beyond this time?
3. Consider Life beyond this transition time.
Basically, when this time is past, and I am living in its here-after, how do I want to number/order my days and my life? How then shall I live?
Have courage, God loves you just as you are, but loves you so much he desires even more abundant life for you . . . you get to choose to follow the Way forward into it!