Transitions and Thresholds

DSCN1542By Stephanie Gretchen Burgevin. Stephanie is a writer and retreat leader. She is an associate faculty member of Shalem and a graduate of their Leading Contemplative Prayer Groups and Retreats Program and leads spiritual and secular programs. Stephanie manages Shalem’s blog. You can see more of her writing at

There are transitions and there are thresholds. My experience has been that transitions take a chunk of time. I can nurse a transition, especially if it’s from a hard place: things like getting over being upset with someone, but also when trying to figure out how to BE in new way of living. The transition in itself is a process.

My prayers of late, since I have so many things in my life up in the air, have been something like: How should I be now? What do I do in this moment?

I’ve got no map for where I am right now, so the sense of taking a step of faith is constantly with me.

I haven’t gotten it all figured out, but I have had a new experience, a shift in my perspective. Instead of a long transition I’ve asked myself why not choose to change how I feel and act now? Why waste all that time transitioning? Why not just step across that threshold into a new way of being?

This means not sitting in the transition of being stuck in an old behavior pattern. Why not cut the cord and be free of that old baggage?

I’m normally a morning person, but found myself getting fussy and irritated with a family member the other morning. I was feeling he was being rude and I snapped at him. He got offended. We did that dance for about 5 minutes when I said, “We don’t have to keep doing this. We can choose to have a good morning. I am sorry for being snippy and curt.” He apologized for his return comment and we had a lovely morning.

I chose to step over the threshold instead of nursing old wounds.

I am working on a new way of being, of stepping away from old behaviors that I have grown out of or don’t serve me, and now that I’m in the middle of my life, I don’t want to waste any more of it dragging old junk around with me.

Now why has it taken me all this time to realize I can just flip the switch and let go of the hurt? Who knows, but Grace seems to be the answer. And I’m so thankful for it!

March 03, 2014 by Shalem Institute 4 Comments
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Janice M. Schuyler
Janice M. Schuyler
10 years ago

What you wrote about transitions was very helpful for me. Moving into the new with an open heart…
Not so much foot dragging… Recently I was talking with a women Irish friend who is considering looking for a new faith community. She knows I am an Episcopalian. She startled me by saying, “Your church is attractive for many reasons, but, of course, not for me because I am Irish…and all that history.”
At the time and later I thought, “Wow, how do I hold on to the past in that way?” “How did I limit myself?” It was a real wakeup call, your writing brought it all back to mind. Thank you.

10 years ago

Thank you for your wise words!

10 years ago

Thank you for this honest sharing from the every day of living!

We really only let go of hurts in the present moment. They are still there in our past and we can’t let go of them in the future yet. Can we really plan for something that happens now? I suppose we can nurture our awareness, moment by moment. Then we don’t have to worry about what we will say we we come to a moment of trial, for the words will come.

Blessings on all who have a moment of trial today.

S D McNeill
S D McNeill
10 years ago

Thanks so much for this lovely reflection. It’s right on target for Lent. One step at a time toward gentle living.


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