This past Sunday, most of us in the United States turned our clocks forward. Some of us enjoy this change; others, not so much. Either way, in autumn, we’ll turn the clocks back. Yet, our forward motion isn’t predicated on the seasons; it’s predicated on our choices. Because as much as we might wish to turn back the hands of time, the only clocks we can turn back are the ones which we just set forward.
Our acceptance of this is also one of our greatest powers. It certainly was for me at a time in my life when I didn’t have the same spiritual understanding I have now. No matter which way I turned, every pathway I tried was filled with road blocks, dead ends, poison ivy or jagged cliffs. At one point I thought maybe I’d just give up and stay stuck. One night I even dreamt of standing barefoot in a circle of broken glass.
Then, I surrendered, turned to God in prayer, and dove deeper into my inner well of faith. As I continued my prayer practice, I dreamt one night of climbing a mountain (in waking life, I’d never climbed more than a small hill). As I put one foot in front of the other, I found that even though the altitude was high, I could breathe easily. And when I glanced behind me, the only things I could see were lush, green trees and bright, beautiful flowers. Then, I knew there was no going back. The only way out was to follow the pathway ahead. When I awoke, I took the first steps to transform my life and connect with all the people, places and things which would support me in that process.
No matter what has happened in my life since, I have held that image of the lush mountain landscape as a symbol of transformation. In my work as a pastor, I’ve been honored to witness many others transform their lives also as they’ve traveled their own unique paths.
Reflecting on that image of a lush landscape also allows us to turn the past into fertilizer – the wisdom of our own life experiences – to nurture new growth and transform ourselves and our circumstances. This is how we deepen our faith and expand our spiritual understanding, rather than our intellectual thinking and habitual doing.
Then, we discover, as we release our desire to know every fine detail, that we don’t need to know how or exactly where the path leads. We know that’s God’s job. Then, we stop trying to be who we were, so we can become who we truly are.
© 2016 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.