In a very unexpected way, a personal crisis led me to step across a new threshold. It was and still is one of my life's greatest transitions.
Last November, I decided to resign from my position as executive director of The Grove Center for the Arts & Media, a non-profit arts organization I founded eighteen years ago.
Like many of life's transitions, what prompted this change was not a thrilling promotion or winning the lottery, but rather a series of events that began with a crisis.
In my case, it was a health crisis.
You may have read about it elsewhere, but on April 9, 2019, my appendix burst, which led to a painful 12-day hospital stay followed by a very long eight-month recovery. My doctor said, "Out of over 8,000 appendectomies, you were one of my top two worst."
That's not a list you want to be on.
By November 2019, I'd finally recovered, but what emerged was a series of questions surrounding, "What would I have done if I hadn't made it? What would I have left The Grove board of directors to deal with? What new leadership is in place to take over the non-profit?"
Along the way, I finished Among Kings and made adjustments with The Grove when Covid hit. For me, Covid prompted more creative work in a flurry of new Grove online courses and artist coaching. Still, many questions lingered as I questioned how busy I was and where I wanted my creative focus to be.
I have long been a lover of simplicity.
Being a practitioner has been much more of a challenge.
So, in the fall of 2020, after a lot of hard work and more questions, I experienced a convergence when I finally realized the streams of simplicity, family, and creative focus were coming together.
I "simply wanted" to simplify my life to focus on my writing and my most cherished relationships (Krista, our four children, & 3 grandbabies, as well as dear friends).
After a lot of thought and prayer, I finally decided last fall to step away from The Grove by handing it over to two trusted friends and colleagues, Erik & Mandy Peterson, who have been involved in The Grove for many years. I couldn't have asked for a better handoff or smoother leadership transition. The Grove is in good hands. What a gift!
It has always been my dream to hand The Grove over to a younger couple to take it in whatever direction God leads them.
My life has been immeasurably enriched by having the privilege of working with so many creative people. I continue to assist Erik and Mandy with the transition and am still overseeing The Grove's lemon and avocado grove. But the day-to-day operation of the non-profit is in their hands.
I'm now focused on writing a new thriller novel (65 pages into the first draft...if you liked Among Kings, you're sure to like this next one...) while continuing to promote the Among Kings novel and episodic television series.
Personally, there have been a few transition bumps and heartfelt emotions, which are to be expected along the way.
Looking back, I can now see that the painful process of my appendix surgery and recovery has been for my gain. (I certainly did not find many gains in the midst of feeling like my stomach was filled with broken glass!)
Crisis, if we allow it, can provoke needed questions about our future. A crisis will always involve some degree of suffering, whether that suffering is physical, emotional, relational, or spiritual. A crisis that doesn't involve pain is really just an inconvenience.
A true crisis always involves pain and with pain, comes grief. But the truth of most crises and grief is that neither will kill us. Yes, we will experience heartache and loss.
It's human nature to avoid pain and to run from crises, which is why courage is such an elusive character quality that always comes at a premium.
When a crisis crosses the threshold of your life, it takes courage to confront it.
Courage will help you and I confront the crisis, accept the pain, stay in the present moment, contemplate the questions, and learn to take one moment, one day at a time.
Wherever you and I find ourselves, in good times and bad, new grace and new strength is available every morning. You are more courageous than you think you are.
That's a bit of my story...
Questions: What's your story? Your thoughts, comments or reflections?
Drop me a note below. I'd love to hear from you.