It's the "best of times and the worst of times."
Something signals Harry that the glorious event called "a walk" is on the horizon. It can be as subtle as opening the closet door to grab the "poop bag," or putting on my shoes. Or it can be as direct as, "Harry, do you want to go for a walk?" At that moment, things cannot be the same. We have left the settled space of status quo and have entered the place of transition: "the unrooted space between two states." We are now in transit, in a passage of space and time that for Harry, seems both exhilarating and overwhelmingly difficult.
How do I know this? Trust me. I watch it every day! Harry's fluffy ears and curly tail both pop up. He's alert and tense. He paces back and forth. He just can't keep his little body still! He's not sure where exactly we're going, but he knows change is coming. Harry enters the place of "in betweens" and his state is one of temporary discomfort... particularly because I do the unthinkable. I get moving, BUT then I dawdle. I pour myself a cup of coffee. I check e-mail. I use the men's room just one last time. The walk which seems so ready to burst forth into existence now remains suspended in time. Poor Harry the Dog must now wait.
Of course, you and I know that this kind of transition is very temporary and can't be all that painful. But as I watched Harry this morning and watched his response to the "lingeringness" of transition, I thought of my own transitions and those of my friends. Many of us have experienced transition or are experiencing one now. In many ways our country has been experiencing transition where the seeming "safety" and "security" of the status quo into a place of "where's this headed?" CHANGE HAPPENS.
The pain of transition comes when we experience it as forced on us and we become uncomfortable in "almost but not yet" of what we hope is a bright future. Yes, the status quo wasn't the best of worlds, but it WAS known and it SEEMED predictable. In contrast, transition leads us out of that "home" and into a land of uncertainty. We begin to question whether the destination will be better or worse from whence we've come.
So what does Harry do? How does Harry tame transition?
1. He excitedly believes the future holds promise. He envisions something worth the wait. The words of Old Testament speak to those of us holding out for such a bright future: "I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." (Jer. 29:11)
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