Our daffodils seem to have made a commitment.  They’ve broken through the layers of frosty dirt and there’s no going back now.

The vernal equinox has come and gone.  Here in Vermont there’s still snow on the ground in some places. And lots of mud in others. Earlier in the week the temperature was almost balmy, but today the wind carries a chill reminiscent of January.  As I write this we are preparing for a nor’easter that promises to dump a foot of heavy wet snow. Yet through it all the daffodils – the cheery yellow harbingers of warm weather – dare to peek out of the ground only to encounter a dusting of snow.

Spring is a season of transition that unfolds in fits and starts.

But then, what transition doesn’t unfold in fits and starts? Maybe that’s why I’m so uncomfortable when I’m in its midst.

This seems a little odd to me because I don’t mind change. In fact, I’m often energized by it. I equate changing with growing and evolving.  At its most positive, change allows us to move from a place of stagnation to a new place of thriving.

That’s  the result of the change.  That’s what happens once the change has taken place. It’s not where change begins.

Change begins with an uncomfortable awakening, with a flash of insight or clarity. The seeds of change lie in the moment when we can no longer deny that something no longer works for us as it once did. It’s the realization that a relationship is over.  Or it’s time to leave a job.  Or our home is too big or too small or too expensive to maintain.

When I was in my late 30s, at just about this time of year, I came to the painful realization that it was time to leave a church I was serving.  I had pretty much done all I could there.  And I knew that the church would benefit from new leadership.  So, imagining how life could be for me and my young family, I began the process of searching for a new pastoral position.

Thus began a period of transition.  It was the time when I was never fully here nor there.  I stopped making long-term plans in my current setting but was unable to make plans for a setting I had yet to find. I didn’t want to make any more investments in my house knowing that I would be moving, though where and when were questions yet to be answered.

Once those questions were answered the transition continued in a two-steps-forward, one-step-back dance. The first attempt to purchase a house fell through.  When we finally did find a house the closing date was just three days before school started and the moving van was late.  I started my job nearly a month before I had access to my professional library.

And that’s when it appeared – in force: Resistance.

Suddenly I regretted all of my decisions. I just wanted to put things back to the way they once were.  It was easier back then, back there.

I’m not sure at what point I remembered how resistance works.  That it grows stronger as we move closer to actually making the change.  But once I became aware of it I relaxed into the present and dealt with the challenges as they came.

Sometimes I wish I could be like the daffodils.  They are compelled to grow up out of the ground and endure whatever they encounter in the outside world.  They don’t have to make difficult choices or cope with regret or grieve what they left behind.  They just do what they’re meant to do.  Sometimes seemingly against the odds, they grow into the promise of delightful days to come.

Even though I can’t be like them, I am inspired by them. They remind me that growth and evolution don’t come quickly or easily. In fact, it’s persevering and working through the resistance and challenges that makes us stronger and more resilient in the end.

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