When Looming Transitions was published in January Danielle said, “You are going to do it for book club. Right?” It was January and I had (wisely, haha!) scheduled books for the spring already. Then several of you commented, “We are going to discuss LT, right?” Due to the not-t0-be-mentioned-again weirdness, I said yes, but then had a low grade vulnerability hangover all spring knowing we wouldn’t just be high-fiving over a book being published. No, we would actually be talking about the content.
I honestly thought about having someone else host this book—which is an idea that still has merit. What if the comment section was like a locker room after a defeat? Sure, there are people all around. But everyone is trying to avoid eye contact and just wants to be alone. I felt confident no one would say, “Um, that one part, that was stupid.” Like we can say when the author isn’t the one hosting the discussion! But even people who aren’t transitioning are reading.
What I’m saying through this rambling is that you blessed me your engagement. Thanks, friends :).
Chapter three starts with a verse from Isaiah 58:
The LORD will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs
in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose water never fails.
In rereading the chapter for our discussion, I paused and tried to focus on each word. Look at how many “wills” there are. Four! What will God do for us? Guide, satisfy, strengthen, water. How life giving. In times of change (our word for the week), I need the hope of life this verse brings. I also appreciate the honesty that there is no time frame. I’m thinking of the very elderly whose hope isn’t in life getting better in this life. Or a massive life transition. Kimberly shared last year that transitions can take years—a fact that both encourages and deflates. But the LORD will . . . that’s the phrase that can act like an anchor.
At one point as part of my research I took this huge, heavy gardening book to the coffee shop and read through it, writing down key gardening vocabulary, in particular the verbs. I don’t know why I didn’t google it (for instance, here is a list). But now I’m glad I spent time thinking about a fertile soul and looking at plants.
Aeration, Arrangement, Atmosphere, Biennial, Biodegradable, Bountiful, Bouquet, Bumper crop, Clippings, Cluster, Deadhead, Decomposition, Decorative, Dedication, Dehydrated manure, all the way to Watering can, Wilt, Yard, and Zone.
Each word could be (Oh my word, you are witnessing the birth of an idea) read in the morning with a few moments of mediation on how that word relates to a fertile soul. I’ll try and made a PDF by next week that is 30 days with a word for each day. In October let’s plan on me blogging through “31 days of a fertile soul.” Okay my mind is off and running and I need to reign it in and focus on the chapter at hand.
Getting the story right is so important, isn’t it? And at times, so hard. If you have been hurt, it can be tempting to downplay the hurt, saying it was nothing. OR give the hurt too much of the story. Please forgive the stereotype if this is you, but at times, if someone has only been on the field for one year, they fall into one of two camps: everything is so AMAZING about this culture and they idolize it as better than it really is. Or believe this is the WORST, most corrupt, most selfish, most backwards place on the planet, vilanizing the entire culture and seeing it as worse than it is. Neither story is right, but it is the story they will tell (probably) for many years. I’m so thankful that God had Moses stress the importance of getting the story right.
If you’ve been around VA for a while, you know where the shoulds with Patty came from, right? Last year’s retreat! :)!
And the chocolate line, I love that one. I love it so much I added it to the graphics I made for those in transition. If you haven’t seen the graphics, I made them for you in transitions. For you to share on Instagram or a screen saver to remind you or to be used in newsletters.
In chapter four I won your heart with that grammar part. Right?!
Maybe by the end of it you felt revived because you knew you would never have to think about transitive and intransitive verbs ever again. Ha!
Are you wired to see humor fairly quickly, or is it more difficult than you would like? I know this can be a complex question and maybe your true self is being squashed by feeling responsible for this transition and as others in your life are not taking it as seriously as you need them to.
Have you been able to laugh this week at a situation (not necessarily IN the situation)?
Let’s talk in the comments. Is there any part you’d like to know more about or have clarified? How are you staying rooted in Christ and seeing the humor in your life?
P.S. Next week we’ll discuss Chapters 5-7
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