Standing or Falling
I recently came across a doodle I did in a Bible study that used the book Journey Through the Psalms, which talked about Walter Brueggemann's idea that three "seasons of life" are represented in the Psalms - orientation, disorientation, and new orientation.
For some people, jumping off a cliff with a parachute seems like a fun idea, but I am not a thrill seeker. I generally prefer to keep my feel on solid ground. That is the orientation stage. Solid, stable and safe. I realized that at the time even though I was in a place of orientation, I was fearful about when the next period of disorientation would be. Disorientation is the place where the floor drops out from under you suddenly and your stomach is in your throat. Periods of disorientation are difficult, but they (eventually) bring us to new orientation - the place of joy, and thrills, and new perspective. We usually cannot get to new orientation without disorientation, but disorientation is not fun.
Normally, I can go when the flow when change is happening, and I'll follow God's leading even if I'm nervous, but I generally fight tooth and nail avoid to anything that could land me back in disorientation. I am trying to teach myself to be less resistant to risk, though, because I know that while orientation is comfortable, there is not much growth in that place. Plus, I remind myself that the falling is not always that bad and the parachuting part is thrilling. As I try to figure out where my life is taking me, I remind myself that stepping into mild disorientation is not always the worst thing in the world. It is in places of confusion or uncertainty that we are most able to experience support from God and from those around us.
My last week has been full of wonderful talks with people in my life who support and care for me - over the phone, via text, on instant messager, Facebook, Skype and even face to face. I have tried to support friends who are experiencing disorientation and I have spent time with people who patiently listen and offer feedback as I weigh the pros and cons of my own life decisions. I feel unspeakably blessed that so many people have my back. It is for this reason that I feel a little braver these days when I consider stepping a little closer to the edge. Of course in the real periods of struggle we often lose sight of the next stage of blessings, and it is hard to remember that we are not alone. But I have been reminded lately that when I inevitably find myself plummeting into the unknown again, I will have plenty of hands reaching out to catch me.
And as I imagine possibilities of finding myself in new places and situations, I am off to San Francisco on Wednesday to visit my sister and have West Coast adventures!