A couple of weeks ago I was at a dinner where someone made the statement that ‘the only constant is becoming’. I quickly wrote it down on a piece of paper and tucked it in my purse. But this concept….this truth….has been traveling with me ever since I heard it. While we often say the only constant is change, ‘becoming’ has a different feel to it, doesn’t it? Often we can push back against what we perceive as change, but becoming……now that is a different thing altogether. Becoming fits right up there with blossoming and evolving, with emerging and unfolding. These words carry such promise.
Right now there is so much to visibly notice that is becoming. I have kept my eye on the irises reaching their long, leggy stems toward the sky. Like green arrows they are shooting up from their winter home. At their green ends a hint of purple is in its own act of becoming…..becoming the dainty flower that will offer its fragile, fleeting beauty to the world. It is this human’s blessed work to be witness to its becoming.
The month of May is the time to attend graduation parties of those young ones whose lives we have watched unfold. Many we have known since birth and we have watched their movement from infant to toddler, from gangly children to petulant adolescent. And now their becoming has brought them most often to a place of confident young adulthood, ready to take the next steps along a journey that lives in the imagination. Each has chosen the next steps of becoming, choices that will surprise and challenge, choices that will confound and trouble.
Becoming is the currency of living. It is also the legacy of creativity and what we were all called to by our very birth. It is the ground into which we were all planted. Like the irises that are reaching toward the sun in their becoming, we each reach for those elements that guide us toward what is pulling us toward blossom. Books we cherish. Friendships that companion us. Silence that connects with soul. Art that inspires. Landscapes that remind us of our origins. Relationships that fill us with love and humility. So many contributions to our becoming.
This past week I have been at the annual gathering of United Methodists around Minnesota. It is always a wonderful time to see friends and colleagues, some not seen but at this one time in spring. It is a time of worship,reports,connection, legislation, voting, speaking, listening, singing and laughter. There are also tears of grief as we remember those who have served churches and who have died in the past year. And there are tears of joy for those being ordained into ministry in the church. It is a few days when we can recognize, if we are aware, the becoming that has happened, is happening,to this institution and the lives of the people who bring flesh and blood to its created structure. Some of the becoming is welcomed, hoped for…….and other forms of becoming are ones that many push against and seek to reject, want no part of.
And yet becoming continues. Whether we like it, long for it, reject it or resist it. What might our lives be like if we leaned into the becoming that is presenting itself right now? How might we wake up to the becoming that is planning its arrival? One of my spiritual mentors, Anne Lamott, throws these words of becoming out for us to ponder…..”Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?”
Whatever path of becoming is calling to you, niggling its way into the soil of your soul, perhaps the ultimate question is ‘How alive am I willing to be?’ Indeed…..whether iris or graduating student, whether church or individual lives…..being alive, fully alive seems the real, deep act of this becoming work.
So…..How alive are you willing to be? Becoming is happening. How will we give ourselves to it?