We often say that we don’t like change; that humans are creatures of habit. But I don’t believe that’s true. What may be far truer is a statement I once heard from Matthew Kelly. “It’s not that we don’t like change. We don’t like transition.”
Oh, the wisdom in that statement.
No one can look at the Presidential race of Barack Obama and say that the world at large isn’t hungry for change. We’re MORE than hungry. We’re ravenous. But we don’t really want to do what it takes to have lasting change. Because to have lasting change, we must be willing to have the process of transition.
The patience and forbearance needed for transition is far too much for our “get-it-quick” culture. We know that we can push and shove; yell and bully our way to a majority so that we can get what we want. Because the change that we want is often just wanting to get our way.
We are all 3-year-olds. I want what I want, and I want it now. And I don’t want what I don’t want. And I certainly don’t want it now.
But when we skip transitions — when we jump over the “in between” — we’re giving up something far greater than just getting our way. We’re giving up the ability to have growth and maturation happen. We’re giving up sanctification.
The “in-between” is where people change. It’s where I change. It’s where I have to admit that my thoughts, values, and behaviors weren’t okay. It’s where I learn how to be humble. The “in between” place for churches is where congregations can honor and have gratitude for the past and dream about the future. The “in between” place for society is where we have to grieve our mistakes and plan so that people don’t ever get hurt the same way again.
I want change. I want a healthy self, church, and society. But far more, I want the process that allows for that health. That’s where God can be found. In the in-between of needing change and not yet having what I want. That’s where the opportunity for prayer and reflection happens. It’s a gift. And I don’t ever want to give it up.