Have you noticed that life tends to move through seasons and cycles?
Walter Brueggemann, an Old Testament scholar, notices that even a life of faith has cycles of what he calls: orientation, disorientation, and reorientation.
- Orientation is when everything is going well. Life is good. The sun is shining, We are experiencing a great deal of joy and satisfaction. Hope and positive expectations are high.
- Disorientation is when life begins to fall apart. Things aren’t going well. The sun is no longer shining. We are experiencing loss and grief, sadness and discouragement. Hope has died and we aren’t even sure we’ll make it to tomorrow. These are dark days.
- Reorientation is when the sun starts to shine again. A new day begins to dawn. Hope emerges out of the darkness. Death leads to resurrection. A new chapter begins.
I am sure you can look back on your life and see this pattern – times of orientation, disorientation, and reorientation. We all go through them … as individuals and a common humanity.
The reality is that we are not in control of these seasons. They happen TO us and we simply choose how best to navigate them. We also can’t determine how long we may be in any one part of this pattern or cycle. We may be in one season for an extended period of time. Then again, everything can change in a moment of time.
In many ways, this recent COVID pandemic has been a huge disorientation. It has disrupted every part of our lives. There has been loss and grief, sadness and discouragement. Not one of us has been unaffected by this.
So where are we now?
Could it be we are just starting to move into a time of reorientation? It’s not about going back to the previous orientation but about cautiously yet courageously moving forward into what’s next for us.
Some things will never be the same. Other things may return to ‘normal’. But a lot will be different.
What could your future look like? I encourage you to take time some time to re-imagine your own life, in light of the current reality. It’s easy to automatically go back to the way things were. But what could be different going forward? What changes are worth embracing? What new and different ways of being and doing things are worth exploring?
These are some of the questions I am asking myself right now … at the end of another year and in preparation for the new year ahead.
Reorientation – let’s embrace this unique moment together.
This has been Episode 30 of Soul Food with Mark Conner.
Enjoy your Christmas and holiday season. See you next year!
You can watch a video of this episode on the Soul Food with Mark Conner YouTube channel.