Internally and externally, I have been witnessing a lot of transition recently. We recently lost a legend of a case manager, Emily Bunch, and in October will be losing the other half of the Em & Em dream team. A part of me is weary from the loss of such bright souls and driven advocates for our young people; at the same time, though, I’m witnessing the uprising of new leaders – my talented co-worker Hailey Myers will be transitioning to case manager soon, and we have already welcomed Jorge Gaitan, a man I’m excited to see work passionately with our young people.
On a personal level, I will soon be transitioning out of the city, making my way to Philadelphia for a year-long internship called Mission Year, followed by three years in Princeton Seminary. In the last month I have become intimately familiar with the sorrow of loss, as I say goodbye to the various communities and commitments that have given me joy and fulfillment for many years.
With such major change, I am torn between bittersweet ends and new beginnings. This place of loss and discovery, death and life, past and future, is the nature of life. Life is defined by transition. It’s the essence of time, that a moment passes to make space for the next. Our tendency can be to resist and to attempt to prevent the imminent, but time is like a river. It flows in one direction, carrying you to new sights and landscapes. We’re just along for the ride. If we try to resist, at best we’ll get exhausted swimming upstream and will miss out on the view along the way. At worst, we can drown ourselves in the anxiety and stress of change.
Truthfully, I see this ephemeral flow of constant change as something profoundly spiritual. As a pastor once told me, “We are Easter Sunday people living in a good Friday world.” The evidence of sin and separation from God is evident all around us, yet we have been saved and live as a redeemed people, washed by the blood of Christ and ushered into the Kingdom of God in all its glory. Life is but a fleeting moment on the horizon of eternity, yet God has placed us here. Somehow, this short time on earth matters. It is significant. In the departure from the old and the welcome of the new, there is a Kingdom sound that rings through from the mountaintops through every passing moment. As we say goodbye to what was, we hear the symphony grow louder, a heavenly chorus of eternity like a waterfall at the end of the river of time.
It is never easy to say goodbye, this much is clear to me. But in the midst of the heartache and loss, I am drawn to a deeper understanding of how important this season was for me. It is because I am saying goodbye and making amends with the changes going on in my life that I can engage with my complete appreciation of the good of what was. And in doing so, I can prepare room for the good to come. Without ends, there would be no true beginnings. So, as SYM transforms through this season of transition, let us celebrate the growth and evolution of an organization I am proud to work for.