The weather has finally started to shift – well, at least on some days! As we enter the Autumn season, some of us are honest about longing for a new season altogether. A season free from a virus that has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the United States alone. A season of less division and more healing for our country. We long for a new season. I keep these verses of scripture from Romans 8 close these days: And this hope is what saves us. But if we already have what we hope for, there is no need to keep on hoping. However, we hope for something we have not yet seen, and we patiently wait for it.
Since the start of the pandemic, professor and researcher Brene Brown’s podcast has been a weekly staple for me. Not long ago, she talked on her show about the difficult “middle” in which we find ourselves – the middle of a variety of hard things, not knowing when the season will end and change. She writes, “Day 2! It sounds easy enough, but Day 2 is no joke. It’s the messy middle – the point of no return. Join us as we talk about navigating what’s next and why it’s always best to stumble through the darkness together.” And you can find that podcast here.
Recently I attended a virtual continuing education event co-sponsored by Garrett Evangelical School of Theology and the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women. We had the privilege of hearing from leading church consultant Susan Beaumont who also spoke to the difficult unknown season in which we find ourselves. Her most recent book How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season is a helpful resource for living in this time. Even the title helps validate the experience so many of us are having. One quote in particular that she referenced I share with you here. They are words by Pixar Co-founder Ed Catmull. Interesting side note, both Beaumont and Brown reference Pixar. Here’s what Catmull says: “There is a sweet spot between the known and the unknown where originality happens; the key is to be able to linger there without panicking.”
And finally I offer this Ted Talk for anyone who feels as if they are living in a fog. I was visiting with colleagues the other day and one pastor Scott Heare referenced this talk by Brenda Reynolds who uses the analogy of driving in fog to capture what it feels like to live in a time of unknowing. By the way, it should not be lost on us that the cover art for Beaumont’s latest book includes fog! Reynolds goes on to talk about the lessons we can learn about how to navigate these days – things like slowing down, considering the best next step (our car’s low beam lights are more helpful than the brights), and that sometimes the best next step is to pull over and stop for awhile. You can find her Ted Talk here.
Take care and stay encouraged!