We will never experience greater transformation than birth and death. These monumental moments are the unbreakable experiences of life that connect all of humanity, and all of creation. These moments are so intensely real that many of us do nearly all we can to push them to the margins of our experience. Death is something that is feared so much that many of us live as if it doesn’t exist. Birth is often viewed with a similar lens of fear that causes many of us to look on in shock when we encounter women who embrace it as the truly natural and beautiful transformative experience that it is.
Both death and birth carry the power to make the rest of life fade into the background. They have a way of pulling us into the present moment in powerful ways. They cause us to see what was previously unseen. They cause us to feel what was previously unfelt. They often cause us to sing or cry out from the depths of our being in ways we never thought possible.
Our family has been drawn into the transformative space of birth and death in recent months. On April 2, 2015 we welcomed into the world our first son, Kilian Rhein. The experience of welcoming him into his new realm of existence was one of the most transformative for me personally. I found myself experiencing excitement, fear, joy, struggle, connection, intimacy, and love all wrapped into a single night.
On June 12, 2015 we were also invited—or perhaps it feels more like we were driven—into the transformative space of death. Nicole was given the honor of being with her Mother as she journeyed into the realm of existence that lies on the other side of the veil, just as her Mother ushered Nicole into this world 29 years ago. In the wake of this transformative experience we find ourselves in the midst of grief, struggle, remembrance, appreciation, and love. We will always remember—with equal parts joy and grief—Nicole’s beloved Mother, Diana.
Transformation is rarely easy. It is easy to uncover this truth at Joshua Station as we see families struggle through the journey of moving from instability to stability, from misfortune to hope, from death to life. But it is also a reality of life that illuminates our connection to each other regardless of economic status. We all experience invitations into transformation through the reality of life. Often those invitations come laced with equal parts joy and grief, and are tempting to avoid. But they rarely leave us the same as we were yesterday. They truly do change us.
It is my prayer that we will all be open to the transformation that life will surely offer us in the hours, days, weeks, months, and years to come.
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