If you own a car, then you know the experience of renewing your license plate every year. It is a relatively easy task if you have the money and have Internet access: just pay your fees and taxes on-line and receive a little sticker in the mail to place over the expired sticker. Instant Renewal! It wasn’t always this way.
There was a time when one had to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles every year to renew license plates … actually receiving new, clean plates, with the new year stamped into the metal. If I sound nostalgic, then I mislead. It was an inconvenient process, a wasteful practice, and aside from the possibility of friendly interactions with neighbors while waiting in line, it was generally unpleasant. Sometimes renewal is like this: the events or activities that renew us require something of us that is difficult, not just inconvenient — heart-wrenching.
The process of renewal may require us to dig deep into our souls to expose vulnerable spaces within us. The times I have felt the deepest sense of soul renewal were often the result of unexpected, unplanned, and painful experiences of self-awareness and discovery.
One of my mentors called these breakdowns and breakthroughs. I have become accustomed to this pattern in my life. That “Aha!” moment of awareness after a great upset offers me the opportunity to walk away with a “clean plate.” If only I could skip the breakdown … cut to the head of the line or renew on a special “Personal Growth and Renewal” website. But alas, while there are some insights to be found on Facebook, deep and lasting transformation is forged in the fires of discernment.
Are there times in your life that nearly broke you, yet you emerged with a renewed sense of self and greater authenticity? What has been the cycle of transformation in your life experience?
Rev. Jan Taddeo