by Rev. Naomi King
Early on, I grew to love tramping through the woods hunting edible mushrooms. The little depressions filled with pine litter that bloomed after a rain in late summer into a patch of golden chanterelles, the snag that drew woodpeckers seeking sustenance flushing twice a year with the heavy fruit of sulfur shell, the sandy dry patches that bore tiny black trumpets were each and all seasonal treasures of transformation. One wonderful and magical place became yet another. The leaf litter changed to leaf mold and then back to earth and from that once again mushrooms, herbs, and trees grew anew.
Once we harvested those mushrooms, of course, another transformation went on – we washed and cut and cooked them. Those fungi nourished us, changing again. And what we did not eat or could not use went into the compost, to change again to nourishing earth.
Transformation is life, including the transformation that results in death and decay.
We can pretend that is not so. We can hold onto denial and hold onto rage and hold onto bitterness and hold onto the illusion that somehow we are exempt from change, or as perfected as we are going to be. But then the breaking comes, as it inevitably does. Transformation happens, because it is part of life, no matter what we try, deny, or do.
Brokenness is just one of the ways transformation happens.
We do not get to choose a lot of the changes life brings. For example, I did not choose my genetic disease or my osteoarthritis. But I can choose how I adapt to and learn from the changes they bring. I can transform for bitter or for better, for sickness or for healing, for fearfulness or for generosity, for anger or for kindness, for willful ignorance and hatred or for wonder and wisdom. Faithful transformation approaches the change that is living with reverence and with humility, with laughter and with a readiness to be surprised. One wonderful magical time changes into another, often through trouble, often through challenge, often through brokenness. Yet faith persists, the fruits of the spirit setting, growing, ripening, being of use, returning to dust, changing and changed, abiding.
I do not know how and who I will be tomorrow. Today I am the sum of my yesterdays, all those changes and what I have done with them. Today, I am just becoming something different in this amazing whole. Today, I am glad to just be part of it all.
Naomi King lives, laughs, and ministers with City of Refuge Ministries (www.cityofrefugefl.com), in south Florida and everywhere digital.