March 6, 2015

For everything there is a season

Written by  Brian Miller
The Miller family from left to right: Heather, Mackenzie, Hollyn, Jansen, and Brian. The Miller family from left to right: Heather, Mackenzie, Hollyn, Jansen, and Brian. Photo provided by author.

"For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven." -- Ecclesiastes 3:1

I am not the same person I was when, as a nineteen-year-old, I went into YES. I remember the hot summer training in Baltimore, language study in Antigua, and outreach in Guatemala City.

I am not the same person who, with one semester left in college, agreed to lead a YES team to Puebla, Mexico, mainly to figure out what to do with my life. I remember the big stone house on Woodbine Avenue, helping lead a summer camp at Oxford Circle, and meeting the woman who would become my wife.

For everything there is a season.

For most of my twenties, I experienced an increasing tension between my childhood ways of seeing God and the world, and new ideas that challenged and deconstructed those earlier images. If I'm honest, I spent a good chunk of time distancing myself from the YES part of my story. I needed space. Systems theory calls this self-differentiation.

I settled into a teaching career which provided a meaningful sense of vocation while I worked at the questions surfacing in my life. I remember our first house on Pine Street, the arrival of children, and pushing a jogging stroller around Buchanan Park.

For everything there is a season.

During my thirties, I began to test and live out a sense of call to pastoral ministry. The seeds of that call had been growing since I was a teenager. I remember the pain of losses, the gift of wisdom, seminary studies, and something coming alive in me. First-half-of-life faith was changing into something that I could not yet see. It was a season of learning to embrace darkness as part of the spiritual journey.

For everything there is a season.

I am now 46 years old; somewhere in the vicinity of mid-life. This season brings its own kind of work. It feels like there are depths of myself and God that I am just discovering. It feels like I am on a journey toward wholeness. It feels like a tender place of emergence.

I'm grateful for all these seasons that have shaped me to be the person I am. I am grateful for the ways I have encountered God, others, and myself in all these seasons.

For everything, there is a season.

Brian Miller served on the 1988 YES team to Guatemala and the 1991 YES team to Mexico. He serves as pastor at Sunnyside Mennonite Church in Lancaster, Pa. He and his wife Heather and children live in Lancaster.

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