Blooming in the Gray


Blooming in the Gray
by Re Kielar

A few months ago, I made a huge decision. I decided to retire.  I use the word retired, loosely because I truly feel I have more of me to give in life.  The problem is, I just don’t know exactly what that is.  In January, after undergoing shoulder surgery, I was certain I’d be back to work and slide easily back into place.  Nope.  Not a chance.  The recovery time period was never really explained to me (maybe I wasn’t paying close attention), so I was propelled home after an unsuccessful return to my job.  I found the rest I needed at home, and after more time passed, I finally felt ready for a second attempt to return to work.

I was all in.  Sort of.  Something in me was stirring and I wasn’t sure what it was.  I shared my thoughts I had with my husband and he matter-of-factly said a few words that seemed to set me free.  “Stay home,” he said.  I almost asked him to say it again, but I didn’t chance it.  Instead, I cried a stream of tears.  I wasn’t sure where my tears came from other than from the tenderness of his heart.  So, I submitted my resignation.

That was about two months ago.  You would think that in this new season in my life, I’d be relishing retirement.  The reality is, it's thrown a curve ball my way.  I am trying to figure out what the heck I am to do with my time.  With my life.  I am wired to be productive and creative, however there has been little of either.  I am still recovering from my surgery, and if I over-do it physically, I pay for it dearly.  So, I find myself in what I call my place of transition, or my “gray space”.  It’s not black, it’s not white.  It is somewhere in the middle.  I keep wondering, asking God how I am supposed to develop and bloom in this gray area.  I haven’t heard a word.  I am waiting.

Have you ever been in that gray space?  Maybe it is a job transition, or you have moved to a new area and you have to figure out how to make new friends, or you are in the middle of shedding weight and are struggling to reach a magic number, or perhaps you are fighting a health battle and the outcome is unknown.  Or maybe you are just stagnant in your life and don’t have the fire in you to embrace positive thoughts or truths.  You are in the “gray”.  And it’s not that great of a place.  Or is it?

Seasons in our lives that put us on hold or keep us stuck are frustrating.  We are only human and we want to have answers and want to be in control.  We can easily stay in this gray space and if we are not careful, as my good friend Pat said to me, “we will wind up in a rabbit hole that will be difficult to climb out of”.  Her advice?  Stay connected to the things I love to do.  Things that inspire, motivate and excite me.  Wait, that sounds like I might have to actually think about my life differently.  Pausing to contemplate what I want and having it all balanced.  Hmmm.  There seems to be some level of responsibility linked to this gray space and I’m not sure I have the energy to work on it.  I am seeing that in this space, I must be deliberate.

On one particular day, I found myself very close to the rabbit hole.  I felt something stir in me and I wondered if the Holy Spirit was prompting me.  The stirring I sensed told me to go to mass.   Wait, what?  Did I sense that right?   I haven’t been to mass in years.  I love Jesus, read my Bible, worship on Sundays, attend a small group, blah, blah, blah, but something in my spirit said, go to mass.  And so I did.

I knew of a little chapel in a nearby hospital and decided to go there.  When I arrived, there was only one other person in the chapel.  It was quiet.  And I simply settled in. I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew the service would celebrate the Eucharist, and this gave me a sense of comfort as well as anticipation.  While I don't actively participate in my Catholic roots, the thought of partaking in Holy Communion felt a little like I was going home. 

During mass, nothing magical happened, (???) except I allowed myself some sacred space.  I needed to escape the technology, social media, and hum of the washing machine so that I could just be set apart in God's house.  I emptied my thoughts, my fears, and my desires to God.  Most of all, I surrendered my expectations to HIM as well as my will.  Upon doing this, a crevice opened in my heart for the Holy Spirit to begin a new work.  A little piece of my own agenda and time table was transferred to God.  The service ended and I sat quietly, alone. I exhaled, said a prayer and went about my day.

I thought about how Jesus interacted with people on his journey.  He asked the same question many times.  In the book of Mark, he asks the blind man, “What do you want me to do for you?”  I think he is asking the same question to us.  Do we even know how to answer it?  Dare we answer it?  Are we ready for the response?  The blind man was bold in his response.  He wanted to see!  Don’t we want the same?

The gray space is still there, but the enormity of it is much smaller than it was.  A mantra my art coach wisely shared with me came to mind…I am safe and secure in this moment, now.  I use it often and I know everything will be okay.

Peace and joy be with you.

Re

Blind Bartimaeus Receives His Sight

Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging.  When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”  Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.”  Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.  “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”  “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.  Mark 10:46-52






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