When I was four or five years old, my sister and I would play a game in the back entry of our house.
It was a small, windowless room about the size of a lift, with four doors – the kitchen and laundry doors stood side by side on one wall. Opposite them was the sunroom door and between them on the rear wall of the house was the back door.
Inside, we’d shut the doors and stand in complete darkness. We’d think about each door opening into new and exciting worlds. It was like the ultimate elevator opening on every floor to unexplored places. We’d even imagine the lift going up and down!
Funnily enough, the main aim of our game was not to visit those imaginary worlds, but to sit and wait in the darkness. In the darkness we forgot we were at our back door, and prepared for all the new things awaiting us. It was never quite the same if I was on my own. Having someone else there to bring new thoughts outside my own imaginings made all the difference. It was like our own personal transit lounge where we could imagine new places, new lands, and new horizons.
Transit lounges are not always the most enjoyable places but are often necessary as you wait, anticipating a move from one spot to another. My car becomes like a transit lounge when I transition to and from work. As I wind down, I review conversations I’ve had and decisions I’ve made. I also prepare to arrive home and collect my thoughts about others in my family. It is a time to pray, reflect, plan and take hold of the next steps, freshly, like one of those exciting, new worlds through the elevator doors.
Transitions are a normal part of life. They can be everyday occurrences like going to and from work. Or once-in-a-lifetime events like your first day of high school or starting a new job. Transitions can be temporary affairs, happening every time you go on holiday. Or they can be big alterations such as moving house interstate, or experiencing the loss of a loved one. Sometimes we know changes are coming, and other times they catch us completely by surprise. But the release that can come from reflecting in a transit lounge, whether that be a car, a room, or a walk on the beach, can make difficulty bearable. Whatever happens, stopping to ponder, transit-lounge-style, allows adjustment to the brand new situation, and if needed, gives time to grieve about what was left behind.
The Bible is full of people making transitions. Almost always there is a period of time in a transit lounge – think of Jacob dreaming about a stairway to heaven (Genesis 28); Moses conversing with a fiery bush (Exodus 3); Joseph and Mary recovering in a stable (Luke 2); and Jesus sweating in the Garden (Matthew 26:36-46). It’s like God knows we all need time and space to make the shift to new horizons, to get ready for the “new normal”.
What’s more, Jesus promised to be with us – a friend who will not leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Reflecting in one of those transit lounges means taking time out to let Jesus help us see the world ahead differently with a renewed and transformed mind. To love that enemy, to forgive that neighbour, to re-imagine a fresh, new and exciting future.
No matter what transition you are facing, no matter how unsettling or what sort of unexplored spaces are ahead, you are not alone! Together with Jesus you can dream up new vistas. Your transit lounge gives you the ability to envisage the new things ahead.
You too can be in that ultimate elevator, with doors opening on every floor to fresh and unexplored places.