A Quaker Meeting in Camas, WA
This year we are reflecting on and opening ourselves to transformation. As part of that reflection we’ve asked members of Camas Friends to contribute any thoughts, articles, poems, artwork, or anything else that reflects and expresses their views on transformation. Lynette Fazio has been generous enough to offer up some of her thoughts on transformation. We encourage you to read what she has to say below.
In the garden of human personality, what is it that God wants us transform? What are the seeds S/He might want us to plant so they can blossom into our ideal selves? What weeds should we be pulling out of the way of this development to achieve a closer more personal relationship with God?
While transformation is about change, is this a change we can do by ourselves?
When the caterpillar spins its chrysalis and goes within, what happens exactly? We can see the cocoon but not the complete transformation until it actually turns into a butterfly. Perhaps it is the same with us in the sense we can prepare a cocoon of quiet, of solace and prepare for our own transformation. But isn’t the actual transformation something God does to us, with us?
Change is the end result, but how change is different from transformation is that it is not as hidden or perhaps as profound. When we plant seeds in our garden, they too, go under the earth, hidden and in a darkness that transforms them into the blossoms we can eventually see. But what is going on under the dirt that makes them transform?
There is a more gradual element even a more nuanced development to transformation. It appears we are not even consciously aware of our own transformation until we look back in time and see how different we were say, ten years ago. Or even five. Or one! How does this happen?
If we wish to transform into that spiritual being who reflects the principles Christ encompassed, one of the first weeds to pull might be to let go of fear. Fear and worry constitute the first blocks to the ability to live in faith. They represent the future. We are in the present, the now. When Jesus talked about how God protects even the sparrows building their nests and signaled that we are more important than the birds, this was in direct reference to letting go of fear. Entire books have been written with that exact title: Letting Go Of Fear. It is perhaps a life-long endeavor. And maybe the most important one.
Transformation takes place whether we recognize it or not but doesn’t God want us to consciously realize where we can transform? Doesn’t God encourage us and support us in this transformation?
When we experience anger or frustration these are the first indicators of fear and hurt which we have not recognized within ourselves. Here is an opportunity for pruning! Here is God presenting us with the challenge for change and growth. We are being given an eye-opener so we can pull out those weeds and tend to our true self. Because the true self has no fear. No need to worry or fuss. The true self within us knows that God is the one in control, God is the one pouring the sunshine, the rain, the fuel on our seeds and growing them. It is up to us what we choose to plant. And we plant what we allow our emotions to focus upon.
We cannot change what we don’t acknowledge. What we don’t see within ourselves that needs changing to become that ideal self we ultimately want to be, will prevent us from becoming God’s warrior, fearless. God’s servant, tolerant and compassionate. God’s companion, understanding and wise. And perhaps most of all, God’s right arm: loving…of self, first. To love ourselves just the way we are enables us to see where we want to grow. In which direction we want to face the light.
Knowing we cannot do anything of ourselves, we learn to plant seeds of trust, truth, faith and hopefulness in God’s ability to direct our lives. In every circumstance of our life we look for and to God and ask sincerely, “Is this what You want me to be doing? Is this something You want me to be focused upon?” Where we guide our attention is where we are co-creating with God to construct a life that lives up to the spiritual ideals we desire. And that God desires for us.
If we could completely eliminate one weed from our human garden of personality, what would it be?
To transform, we need to engage our imagination to visualize how we would be different without fear. Without anger. Without self-aggrandizement or ego. Imagining our ideal selves, how would we be different from today?
God’s grace and mercy follow us every time we attempt to reach closer to God’s idea of who we can be. And it doesn’t matter how old you are or what your life has been up until now. As long as one is conscious and aware of the yearning to be closer to God, God is giving us clues, thoughts, ideas of how to achieve this. And if our negative emotions get in the way, this is God’s way of demonstrating what work needs to be done first. God is always there supporting us in our quest for intimacy with Her/Him.
After all, God will eventually call us home to be in that ultimate embrace. Will we be prepared to receive Her/His love? Will we be transformed?