As the calendar turns to August, I am reminded of transitions, of endings and beginnings. The peas, radishes, the early lettuce and the turnips have died off. The tomatoes’ red globes and the vibrant green corn stalks take their place in the rotation of all things. Even as this transition is going on in the outside world another trasition is happening inside our youth and children. Desire and anxiety, excitement and dread begin to rise in their hearts as they contemplate the unknowns of the upcoming school year. Will I know where my classroom is? Will I like my teacher? Will there be bullies there, too, or might I find my first true friend?
Some students may be dealing with the potentially deeper discomforts of being in transition in terms of their gender or sexual identities. Pieces of themselves they have never explored out loud suddenly call out to be tended as other aspects of their being crumble. Still other youth in NH may be wondering whether they or their parents will be deported before the fall semester begins. And all of our youth might be wondering if there is an advocate, anywhere “out there,” who will be willing to walk this journey of transition with them, or whether at the other end of the road they will end up un-recognizable to themselves and others.
This is the beautiful and terrifying process of ‘becoming’ to which we are each called. The writer, Rainer Maria Rilke had a helpful way of talking about this transition process:
“…I would like to beg you dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be abe to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.”
I love the invitation to “live the questions” and to live committed to discovery, doubt, shifting landscapes, a sense of displacement. But it is so difficult to “live the questions” when you also have the strong feeling that God, somehow, is NOT there with the answers or worse, is withholding the very answer you need. That is why advocacy for our youth is always and everywhere a gift – whenever and however we are able to give it.
If we are able to witness to love and the power of listening; if we are able to take part with them in the small moments of insight wherein new ways of thinking about self and purpose happen; if we simply offer solidarity in the journey, we will give evidence of God’s presence and our belief that God’s hand is in all things as they change, grow and mature and we, all of us, are always held in the palm of God’s hands as beloved children.
With patience toward the unresolved answers and joy in sharing the journey, Love, Rev. Deb
Lectionary Readings and Sermons for August
August 4 Sacrament of Communion
Scripture: Luke 12:20 and Colossians 3:23-24
Stewardship: A Soul Investment
August 11 Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture: Luke 12:32-40
Sermon: “Living into the Promise”
August 18 Tenth Sunday after Pentecost
Scripture: Luke 12:48
Sermon: “Stewardship is about Restoration”
August 25 – Guest Preacher – Diane Mix