Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Confronting the T-word

     The last six months of my journey have been wrapped up in transition. Transition from Guatemala to North Carolina, to Tuscon. From life with my host family and chicken buses to a house with ten peers and fifteen bicycles. From a position where I was outside in the sun engaging my body and mind every day, to a job where I sit at a desk to work my mind and go to the gym to separately to work my body. Transition, a word I didn't write about in my application, but that has been the main theme of my journey. At first I was surprised, even shocked, at the difficulty of transition. I came to abhor and fear yet another change, longing for some kind of stability. 
     Some days, the struggle seems unreal, far away. Like today, January the 21st, MLK day, over seven months since I last wrote a blog. As I sit here on my porch contemplating transition in no shoes, shorts and a t-shirt with a few of my housemates soaking up the sun and the spring-like weather, I wonder if transition is the definition of life. We read the bible, looking to it for life, and in its most basic state it is a set of stories and poems about migration and transition--physically and spiritually. Noah may not have migrated to a new land leaving everything behind, but everything on earth where he had made his life was wiped away in an instant. Simultaneously he was trapped in a boat only to return to the same land which, without people, livestock, birds, or other living creatures did not resemble the land before the flood. God called him out of his comfort zone to be entrenched in transition and love. Sounds simple, right? 
     When I first moved to Tucson, to the desert, I could feel my insides being tugged at by the simple fact that my yard is gravel and everything that is green has more thorns than green. I cannot even begin to imagine the emotional difficulty that comes with a loss of all that lives and breaths on earth. 
      Ruth and Naomi were pulled by God through transition after transition a midst despair and desperation.  god was present as the women. After arriving in Ruth's homeland, unknown to Naomi, Boaz was an instrument of God's grace toward Naomi as she gleaned the fields instructing his works to leave more. Even through the most trying transitions, God is with us and helping us plod along only to arrive more fully in his love. After my rather minimal changes, in comparison, I can't imagine how dizzying these transitions, maybe better called trials, were for the two women. 
     For me, transition has meant fear, grief, pain, trial, and yet, more powerfully love, grace, and mercy. In the middle of it all, the discomfort, the unknowing, the wandering, God is with me and has shown me his face as he takes control in each of our crossing transitory lives. Through these transitions, I have had the privilege of discovering more of who I am and whose I am each day. 
     Transition is biblical, everyone experiences it. Even in the most stable job and household, there is change. Change of procedure, salary, staff, friends, or children who grow up and move out.  Perhaps transition is also the definition of faith- a transition from self reliance to reliance on a more divine being often discovered when in over your head. Transition from being in control of our own lives to Him taking over even those bits where we try to feign control. Through transition, there is faith, hope and love. So perhaps, if we simply wait for transition to pass, or try to push it off with tunnel vision, we might miss life or the next circles of light that God sends to us. 


  1. Austin - I'm so glad to read this after having met you during that difficult transition-focused weekend at Ghost Ranch. Blessings!

  2. Austin -

    Thanks for putting this words and sharing with us! A powerful reflection, and a blessing and challenge to read...