Monday – March 3, 2014

Matthew 17:1-9

17 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Get up and do not be afraid.” 8 And when they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus himself alone.

9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus ordered them, “Tell no one about the vision until after the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”

Life is about change…especially with growing kids!  The life I am living today is very different from how I lived just ten days ago (when I still had use of my right hand); but seriously as single patents we are in a constant state of flux as neither our children or our lives ever stay the same for long.

Yes, change is inevitable and happens all the time; however, even amidst all these expected changes there are some moments that stand out as an event of “transfiguration” in our lives, changing us to our core and leaving us different people in the end.  Some of these are the traditional milestone events such as graduations, deaths, marriages, births and divorce; however there are many other events that can also change our lives!  

For me these would include getting sober, leaving New York to move to Philadelphia in order to pursue a Master of Divinity degree, and of course one of the most transformational experiences I had in my life: becoming a single father!  

Taking on the role of being a single parent truly transfigured my life, changing who I am and how I saw myself!  Many years ago, even before I was married, I would see movies or TV shows about single parents, or would actually meet a single mother in person, at work or school and would wonder how they managed it all; and I would tell myself to be careful, that this life was not for me, and vowing to avoid being a single parent at all costs!  So while I wanted a child, I also wanted to be sure that I was in a good marriage and relatively stable before making becoming a father.

As an old philosopher once told me: “Man plans and God laughs”; meaning that things do not always work out as hoped…because sometimes God’s plans are different from ours.  While I do not believe that it is ever God’s will for us to suffer or be in pain, I do believe that getting out of a dysfunctional marriage and becoming a single parent was God’s Will (as God does not want to see any of us hurting).

Becoming a single parent helped me to grow up quickly, to become more mature and responsible…as my daughter was only two years old and needed me to ‘step up to the plate’ for her.  This meant I could not wallow in my grief over the loss of the marriage too long or too deeply, I had to move on quickly both for my daughter and myself.  This meant professional counseling, reaching out to friends and family, and becoming more involved in my faith through praying more as well as becoming more connected to my church, by teaching Sunday School and participating in service projects.

As a single parent I became more focused, more responsible and more concerned with making and then meeting my commitments at work, at church, in the community and at home!  There were also deeper changes that took place as a result of becoming a single father, as I lost much (not all) of my old pretension and arrogance, and became a more genuine and caring person, and more willing to reach out you others for help as I finally started to see that I did nit have all the answers regarding how to live life on life’s terms; but God did, through the Bible and through the people in my life.  I would like to believe that these more profound changes came about because being a single parent opened some deep vein of integrity in my personality, but to be honest I think I became more genuine because I no longer had the time or patience for that much B.S. in my life!  And my faith grew stronger because it was my trust and belief in God that became my rock during hard times…my faith being all I had to rely on to see myself and my daughter through our most difficult days.

Becoming a parent transformed can transform our lives; becoming a single parent can be a transfiguration: changing who we are all the way down to our souls!  Both events, as with all change, can be frightening and challenging, but also reasons for joy…as we are entering a new part of life!  In the midst of these transformations and transfigurations this is our hope: the promise of change and the knowledge that we are never alone, as we walk in the light of the risen Christ, and we have many others who walk with us as we follow Him, others who can help us along the way of our own transfiguration!

Let us Pray:  

God, thank you for the transforming power of your love which is present in our world and in our lives.  We understand that life is about change, especially when it comes to raising our children, and we ask you to help us to manage the changes we face in our lives as single parents and as people of faith; help us not to be reluctant to ask for help and support from family, friends and professionals.  Thank you for always being with us as we face life on life’s terms with our children as we travel through this life together…a journey which changes us to our core and leaves us transfigured in the light of your love.

Amen

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