The natural order of creation necessitates built-in rhythms of seasons of lacking, and seasons of fullness. Consider the journey of the last 5 years of our avocado tree for example. A poor sickly first year after we moved in; and although ripe with fruit, they were small, tasteless, & unhealthy. The gardener insisted on following this crop with a sharp, extreme pruning and long season of watering and plant food. Much to my sadness and doubt of the extreme pruning approach, the following year produced absolutely nothing! I was ready to call it for dead. Year three followed with another constant stream of watering in the off-months, fertilizing and nurturing. During harvest season to our delight we saw one! large, healthy avocado per week for eight weeks! The flavor increased as the tree came into greater health. But the crop unusually small, in my opinion. Uncertain if the tree would ever fully recover from its extreme pruning and years of unhealth, year four shocked us! During the harvest season, over the course of several months, one single tree produced an incredible and abundant fruit incomparable to the years prior. Over 800 large and incredibly flavorful avocados were picked and enjoyed with great delight! The harsh pruning and years of barrenness that preceded produced in it an amazing fruit that required time, patience and faith.
For me, the symbolism of this one tree, highlighted to me that our great Creator subjects every part of His creation to seasons of barrenness, pruning and harvest. Showing me so poignantly in this beautiful illustration his care for all of creation remains. All of creation is subject to seasons of transition.The metaphors of this season are all around for us, the observer. A brilliant, painful and potentially comforting part of the great designer’s purpose. Illustrations for our learning…
This knowledge that change precedes transition, and is in turn followed by loss—as well is a natural order to creation—when embraced by atransitionee, helps with the release of expectation to have to figure it all out. Rather permission is granted to allow freedom to embrace transition almost as a rite of passage—a relatively short season of in-between, or rather a way of disengaging from the old identity, helping us find new norms and pathways. It is symbolized by an end of one way and a passage into a new way. Well-known author William Bridges states that “Transition is the process of letting go of the way things used to be and then taking hold of the way they subsequently become. In between the letting go and the taking hold there is a chaotic but potentially creative ‘neutral zone.’” How then do we enter this neutral and often barren transition space?
The period of time in which we label transition is a season where God is looking to transform each one of us and make us more like Him. We discover again and again our need for intimacy and connection with the Creator of the universe, but ever so poignantly in this often vacuous and dark season. We are reminded of the gift of being the only created beings with the ability to communicate, think, and have intimacy with the artist of the universe!
The invitation remains to lean into this “in-between” or “boundary phase,” as Robert J. Clinton labels it. In these seasons God is asking us to process the stirrings of the soul to give clarity to one’s call. God uses transitions to shape life direction and further the discovery of one’s unique contribution in the expansion of His Kingdom. Transitions serve to bring about needed change, provide clarity in life direction, consolidate learning, deepen values, shift paradigms and advance one’s influence or ministry. God does some of his greatest shaping in our lives during times of transition most importantly if we remain open to it.