Years ago, when I was leaning into a new season of life, my spiritual director compared going through a season of change to being a trapeze artist. She offered that as we make changes and go through transitions, it’s like a trapeze artist swinging from bar to bar. Sometimes, we can easily make the transition from one bar to the other. Other times, we cling to the old bar with an arm outstretched for the new bar, but we are not quite ready to grasp the new bar of our lives. Prayer can offer us support as we let go of the old bars of life and lean into the new bars.
Prayer methods such as the Examen or spiritual journaling can offer us space to name what the old bars were. We can reflect on what we are being invited to let go of, such as:
- An old set of beliefs
- A change in relationship status
- A job
- A city.
Prayer also supports us in reaching out and holding onto the new bar. If it’s a new beginning that we discerned was right for us, we can check the fruits of our discernment in prayer by noticing if we feel an increase of faith, of hope, and of love as we let go of the old bar and lean into the new bar.
I find the new bars that appear suddenly out of nowhere are the ones that are hardest to grab onto. It is then that prayer, thankfully, acts like the safety net of a trapeze artist, providing us a safe space to talk freely and honestly to God and voice our frustrations, our sadness, or our grief.
As my spiritual director reminded me all those years ago, the new beginning will eventually become more familiar to us. And we may find ourselves moving more freely through the new season like a trapeze artist swinging gracefully through the air.