My younger daughter is home this weekend. She is such a delight. In many ways she is a typical eighteen, almost nineteen year old -- but in others she is far more smart and self-aware than most of her peers. We were sitting around last night talking about the process of individuation that she is working through -- that process by which a child becomes an adult, by which a dependent person becomes independent. At one point she said, "I just want to push a button and be through this process." It's hard having to live through transition!
I'm pondering this morning the truth of her words. I just want to push a button and be ... what? What is it in your life that you'd like to get through without enduring the difficulty?
Lately for me, I would just like to push a button and be adjusted to Calvary Lutheran Church. I would like to know the names and the staff and the congregation and the routines that govern Calvary's life without having to go through these days of transition. Many days I feel like a child in kindergarten, dependent on others for the most basic things. I had to have someone help me mail a letter this week, because I had no idea how to do that at Calvary. Each day there are dozens of things like that.
In my mind, it would be a great advantage to push a button and know all that. If I knew all those things, I could focus more specifically on vision and long-range planning and sermon preparation. This week it's been hard to get to any of those "greater" goals! Seems to me it would be a huge advantage to push a button and be through the transition.
However, if I did that I would not be able to understand the first time visitor to Calvary and how intimidating this big church can be. I would not understand the dilemma of someone who comes looking for a staff member for the first time, who enters into a labyrinth of offices and cubicles populated by a dizzying array of people and positions. I would not understand the children who attend Calvary's childcare, who each day are so dependent on their teachers and leaders for every detail. If I could push a button and have what I want, I would not understand frustration or dependence or yearning or weakness.
We wish for strength, but we desperately need the perspective of weakness, slow growth, and difficult processes. If we are going to become all we are designed by God to be, we need the experience of living into it.
Part of the gift of living into it is that it takes us out of control. We have to acknowledge along this 'toilsome way' that we are not masters of our own lives. Jesus is Lord. We are not. Thank God!