A New Leaf

Ponderings in Changing Seasons


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WHEN HEART SEASONS CHANGE

This blog, as titled, is about pondering changing seasons ~ both literally and figuratively.  Both have occurred for me since September 2015.

For me, there’s been a seismic shift over the past six months.  In July, I traveled with approximately 2500 other short-term missionaries from around the world to land in the Dominican Republic ~ Dominicana Republica to the Caribbeans.  We were there to answer a Biblical question:  Can a Nation be changed in a Day?  The short-term answer is a resounding “YES”!  The long-term answer has to do with “it takes a long time,” but then SUDDENLY!  

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This idea was answered concerning the nation to which the Scripture applied ~ literally ~ in 1948, May 14, to be exact, when the the Provisional Government of Israel proclaimed the new State of Israel.  The United States was the first nation, through the person of President Truman, to recognize the provisional Jewish government as the de facto authority of the new Jewish State of Israel. Although there was dissension, once the UN declared Israel a Nation, a landed Nation, a “new” nation had been born.

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But I digress.  The shift in national identity can be slow or quick!  The shift in our own identity may be gradual or sudden!  Witness the one who loses a life partner to death ~ or divorce:  there is an immediate identity shift even if the anticipation of this shift lingered long.

When I retired last month, my Season changed.  And my identity shifted!  No longer may I call myself by my former title:  a clinician, a clinical social worker, a therapist.  Rather, being forthright, I am a retired therapist.  I no longer hold the position of trusted confidante for those in pain, those in confusion, those in the morass of their faith.

My skills are still intact.  My heart is still full of compassion.  Still, my art is alive.  My license has not expired.  {Nor have I!} But, in the moment of retirement, I chose to end one Season and begin a new Season.  This Season has yet to be molded. It lacks continuity.  It holds mystery.

This new Season was pondered and prayed over for at least two years.  It was not suddenly thrust upon me, as for some, yet it feels SUDDEN!  One day I had responsibilities; the next I did not.  I no longer had to check my phone messages from clients.  I no longer carried with me the possible call or text at any moment that would demand my care.  Some would say I was FREE! But, though my schedule is freed, my heart is still attached.  My identity is still shifting!

Perhaps you can relate!  Perhaps there is something ~ or someone ~ in your life from whom your life is being or has been severed.  Perhaps you are faced with an identity shift and it is painful.  Or, perhaps the identity shift is liberating.  Or, maybe it is BOTH ~ all at the same time!

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Changing heart seasons can be a scary thing.  It draws us to attention.  Our blood pumps swift from a trembling heart.  Our minds resist the discomfort, the pain of change.  We fear making wrong decisions, decisions that will have long-lasting repercussions not only in our own life, but in the lives of many whom we love.

We pause.  We hesitate.  We quake.

There’s a Scripture way back toward the end of the Bible that says something to the effect that our Creator did not give us a spirit of fear, but that He will equip us instead to be bold and loving and sensible.  We challenge fear with faith; we may move out with a bit of trepidation, but we move nonetheless, in faith believing that there is something new and good just around the bend.

The body is made to regenerate.  A cut to the body first scabs, then heals from underneath the protective covering.  A broken bone immediately begins to draw upon life forces within to mend and heal.   The heart, literally and figuratively, is made the same.  From within a lifetime of living is drawn the lessons and tools that regenerate and heal.  It may be a long time in coming, but one day it will suddenly be all right.  You will wake up, look up and discover that truly a new Season has begun; your heart has been restored.

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* Isaiah 66:8; **2 Timothy 1:7 (The Message)