During these weeks it's back-to-school time for almost everyone around here. College students have been settling in to their new digs, new lockers are being decorated at high schools and middle schools (when did that change from Jr. High?) and grade schoolers are getting used to their new teachers. It's a time of transition for everyone. It's a transition time for those who stay at home too. Somehow the noise level in the house makes it sad for the preschooler left at home or quite empty-feeling for family members who watch others depart on a busy weekday schedule. What makes it easier? Sometimes a chocolate doughnut!
Last week Charlie, one of our grandsons, watched everyone taking off for their respective daily schedules and was feeling a little glum. So, dad suggested a stop at the local doughnut shop. As they placed their order, the man behind them offered to pay for their order. He was remembering doing the very same thing with his son, that he had just dropped off at college for the first time. He graciously paid and then walked outside, overcome with watery eyes remembering those long-gone days.
But then... he stepped back in, sat down and began a conversation with them. He had recently closed on his home in the same neighborhood having taken a position in a new area. They had waited until his son was off to college before moving. Remembering all the fun family times, and seeing a family much the same as his, he marked the transition moment as he had with his own son, years before.
Later in the conversation another connection was made. The man had been a pastor in a local congregation. Knowing what a small world it is for pastors, my son-in-law mentioned me. Turns out, this is a colleague I know and in fact his new congregation is one I formerly served as an interim pastor while they were in transition.
A transition time, a moment of grace, a move by the Spirit to conversation and connection.
Sometimes we forget just how connected we are. As beloved children of God we are part of a family. At times we forget just how small that family is. The noise of the world that crashes in on us, and the busy times of our life taking over, we push away the nudging of the Spirit to make a connection and miss the profound grace that God lays in our path.
Life always brings transitions and changes. The challenge is to slow down and let God be a part of them. Who knows, maybe you'll share a doughnut together!