Sunday, September 30, 2012

Seasons Change

I have been in full-blown INFJ recharge mode for the past several days. My grandpa’s death & caring for family trailed the closing ofEikon Church, and brought the full reality of end-of-life care into gritty perspective. I get to reenter routine tomorrow, and I am quite pleased to return to some degree of normality. During my days of rest, my mind has turned again to the process of life transition. Leading up to Eikon’s final Sunday, one of the discussions we had was on managing transitions, and I realized I never shared my notes here. I think the transition, the journey after the change, is more important than the change event itself – so I share these notes to remind me, to remind us all, that change is slow, change is difficult, but change is unavoidable & it can lead to beautiful things. Please insert your own life season/transition:

Opening Meditation/Prayer:

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability—
and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.

—Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ

Joshua – standing stones
Facebook timeline – milestones
Communication theory – turning points
David Bowie – ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Brandi Carlile – linesupon our faces 

                                    LIFE TRANSITIONS

We’re going to map some of these major life events, marking the standing stones of both positive and negative moments that have brought about change in our life. At the end of your map, draw a decent size circle & we will do something with that at the end.
·         What outstanding questions & concerns do you have about Eikon’s transition?
·         Do not force yourselves through this transition
                  -        some of us will need the routine of plugging immediately into another community
-        some of us will need a season of Sabbath, of rest & renewal
·         Look at some of your past transitions:
-        What has delighted you most in life? (joys)
-        What has disappointed you most in life? (pains)
-        How did each change affect you emotionally during the transition?
-        How did you experience growth through the transitions in hindsight?
·         Transition is a time to both grieve & reexamine:
-        We need to give ourselves and each other permission to grieve what we are letting go of (both what was and what might have been)
-        We need to give ourselves and each other permission to experience the sadness and anxiety that can come with leaving our comfort zones and stepping into something unknown and challenging
-        We also get an opportunity to reexamine our present way of being & even create new beginnings.
·         What are your fears, doubts & uncertainties surrounding the closing of Eikon?
·         What are you angry or frustrated about?
·         What are you hopeful for stepping into this new season?
·         What experiences from your time in the Eikon community do you hold sacred?
·         What is the legacy you want to carry with you into your new experience?
·         What are the things you need to leave behind?
·         Where do you want to go from here? What are your intentions for the next season of your journey? 

HOMEWORK: Take your lifemap home with you and think through it some. What questions or concerns do you still have outstanding about our transition from Eikon? The circle you drew at the end represents your future, particularly in terms of your church life. Inside the circle, fill it in as a sort of pie chart – think about your commitments & priorities in your life at this time. Fill in the pieces based on those commitments & what percentage of your life they demand. Then draw some spokes going out from the circle. At the end of each spoke, list a value that you would be looking for in a future community – what gifts will you bring into that community, what kind of support will you need from that community, what do you want to participate in through that community?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

(or, an open letter to the wider Church from the little congregation formerly known as Eikon)

Dear Church, 

It’s not you, it’s us. When a relationship ends, even if it’s amicable, even if we had time to prepare, even if we split with the understanding that we would see other people… it still hurts. 

There is still pain. 

There are still broken hearts. 

There is still a need for healing and space. 

I’m a pretty practical person, so I have been checking off the boxes on our list for several weeks now. But yesterday… yesterday it hit me like a ton of bricks. I can not begin to put into words what Ryan and Christen and John and everyone in the Eikon family have spoken into my life and ministry - as a community, they revived my calling. Everything is changing. I’m not sure I can do this again. How am I going to makes sure everyone else can do this? Do we really have what it takes to live resurrection in the face this death? 

A friend who knows me well, knows that change is the constant in my life, commented that I’m a pro at new beginnings. I wish that weren’t so. I wouldn’t mind a bit of stability, if I’m being quite honest. 

Anxious thoughts aside, I know that we have it in us. In fact we have so much power to try, try again that we found each other in the first place. There were no superstars in the community that was Eikon (well, we all thought Ryan was pretty super… but don’t tell him that, it’ll just go to his head) – there were a bunch of weird, misfit, wandering souls that converged on community and said: let’s do this. And we gave it our all, as much as we could, for as long as we could. Someone without the fire of resurrection burning in their souls wouldn’t have dared what we did together. There was nothing fancy about Eikon, and we liked it that way. 

We all have the strength within us to start again, to make ourselves vulnerable to a new community, to pour our wine into new wineskins so that we can pour it out to others. 

But don’t rush us. 

Breaking up is hard. When a relationship ends, even if it’s amicable, even if we had time to prepare, even if we split with the understanding that we would see other people… it still hurts. 

Even when we talk together about the other communities out there, it’s awkward. As Sarah said… or maybe it was Don… it’s kinda creepy, like your ex is trying to fix you up with someone new, and may even be interested in tagging along for the date. 

There are some great communities out there. We know this. Some of them we had a previous relationship with, and it was good, and it could be again. Some of them we have secretly harbored an attraction to for some time. But none of that matters, you see – because none of them are Eikon. 

We were very clear with one another – there is no timeline.  

Some will need to plug into a new community as soon as possible, to restore a rhythm to their life. 

Some will take time to explore various communities, to really get a feel for where their gifts best fit. 

Some will require space and time to recuperate before they can even consider visiting a new place. 

Some may feel a bit lost, and choose to wander for a while. 

We appreciate your concern, and your invitations, and your hospitality. It’s not you, it’s us. Breaking up is hard, and we will have to find our own coping mechanisms. We will probably be spending quite a bit of time together during this transition, processing the reality of the situation.  

Be patient with our tender hearts and our wandering souls.  

We’re all moving forward at our own pace. 

Well, ok, we may stand still for a while. 

But we all WILL move forward. 

And what an adventure it will be. 

Kimberly, Co-Pastor