I think we all have certain time periods of our lives that serve as turning points, the kind of days or months during which everything seems to change. Someone we love passes away. A relationship that meant quite a lot fades. Careers change or vanish. Traumatic moments of abuse scar us, or instances of great love fill us.
These days stand up on our timeline like a lone tree on the horizon. We glance back as we walk away, and when we see that monument to that particular time, it fills us with a renewed sense of hope. Or hurt. Or confusion.
I inevitably think back to the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010 when it felt as if our entire world was vanishing. If you’ve read my book, Building a Life Out of Words (get it free HERE), you know what I’m talking about. It was a time of great hurt for Maile and I, a time of severe disappointment. But it was also a time for starting over, beginning afresh.
Whenever I think about times like that, transitional periods, I think of the wonderful words of Brennan Manning in his book Ruthless Trust:
The reality of naked trust is the life of a pilgrim who leaves what is nailed down, obvious, and secure, and walks into the unknown without any rational explanation to justify the decision or guarantee the future. Why? Because God has signaled the movement and offered it his presence and his promise.
Sometimes, I think it’s hard to move on in life from those poignant moments because those experiences are tangible, they’re nailed down, and they often become that which brings us security. Even the painful stuff. Even the stuff we think we’d rather leave behind. We cling to it, because it’s tangible or because it identifies us.
Sometimes walking into the unknown looks a lot like forgiveness, or a willingness to move on. Sometimes walking into the unknown is taking a deep breath and trying again. Sometimes walking into the unknown means saying “no” for the first time.
Don’t be afraid to leave what is nailed down, obvious, or secure. Leave that lone tree behind. Set your face toward the horizon, and start walking.