By JENNY SEYLAR
I finally feel like I am turning the corner in my grief, yet it is a slow rotation around the bend. While attending high school and college, I participated in the marching band. In both bands there was street and field marching. Street marching was fairly simple if I attended to the row and column to which I was assigned. I just had to glance left, right, and forward so that I would keep myself in line with the rest of the musicians around me.
The challenge in street marching, however, is when the band must turn the corner. To successfully navigate the turn, the band closes ranks, bunching up the lines, and then each row enters the pivot point for the turn. The pivot point is the place where the person on the inside of the turn stands. This person has the responsibility of marking time in one place while slowly rotating their body ninety degrees. The rest of the line, from pivot to the end of the row, each take larger and larger steps, with the end person stepping the full length of their stride. Eventually the row makes the turn and then resumes the marching gate on the new street. From the vantage point of the pivot, the person gets a view of the new terrain up ahead.
As I navigate my grief, I discover that I am the pivot person. I am slowly turning the corner, leaving behind the past and looking ahead to the new landscape that is my life. It’s a snail’s pace of a turn. I have yet to complete the pivot and step into the new stride that I am confident awaits me. I am nearly there, and am eagerly awaiting the opportunities that lie just ahead. I know there will be new responsibilities, relationships, and landscapes to explore.
From the vantage point of my pivot, I cannot see too far ahead, and that is okay. God only shows me a glimpse every now and then. There are doors up ahead; some are open and others are closed. When I reach them I will look inside and see if they are the ones in which I am to go. In the meantime, my role is to trust the future that God has in store for me. God will send people into my life that will guide me in this new realm, and I will journey with them for a time.
In this pivotal moment of entering into my future, it is unsettling to be going so slowly. Yet I know that the pace of my progress is all a part of the healing growth that is the journey of grief. To rush this journey is to mess up the important work that is happening in the present moment. Were I to jump too quickly into new things that I am not ready for, it would leave me too vulnerable and exposed, and I would likely be skipping critical parts of my healing. So instead I will seek to have faith in the pace God has for my life. The wisdom of Proverbs 16:9 speaks volumes to me: “People plan their path, but the Lord secures their steps.”
As a person who likes to control my environment, it is difficult to let go and let God guide and secure my steps. Still, I am trying to do so. I spend my quiet time with God each day so that I don’t miss out on what God is offering me. All around me God is sending signs and reminders of the direction that I should go, and I am seeking to be in tune with them. When I get out of step or move too quickly to what’s ahead, God gently nudges me, reminding me to put my trust in the plan God has for my life.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT To trust in God’s plan is to surrender my own plans. This is no small task some days. Dear one, what do you need to offer to God so that your life aligns with God’s agenda? How often do you sit quietly with God so that you may move in a direction that will provide you with the “Lord’s secure steps?” Take a moment right now to see where you are in your relationship with God. Does God feel distant from you or do you feel God’s presence with you right now? This is a pivotal moment for you, because you may choose to continue to be distant from God OR you can choose to invite God into all aspects of your life. God wants to be an integral part of YOUR plans, and God will guide you into YOUR future.
PRAYER Creator God, I thank You for the wonders of creation and of my life. In the face of hardship, You show up and provide comfort and guidance. Forgive me, Lord when I seek to make my own way, forgetting how You have always had my best interests at heart. My life is changing as I grow and heal from the traumas of my life. Help me to not rush the healing work that You are doing in me. I praise You, God, in all things. Amen.
Jenny Seylar is a woman with a deep faith in Jesus Christ who serves in ministry at a United Methodist Church in Iowa. As a pastor and youth director, she is passionate about walking with all ages as they journey in their faith. She believes in creating authentic relationships in order to walk alongside folks wherever they are in their faith journey.
In 2017, Jenny’s husband of 28 years unexpectedly died while on a training bicycle ride. In the aftermath, Jenny and her 3 grown kids, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter, have sought ways to find joy in the everyday miracles that make up this life. You can read more about Jenny Seylar and her ministry at www.lovelylane.org or her blog “Journey From Despair to Hope” at https://journeyandstrength.wordpress.com/2018/09/12/through-the-lens-of-grief/