Over the next few weeks, some of the Braid mentor teams are going through some big transitions.
One team is saying farewell to one of its original members, who is heading off to grad school in New York City, and then they will be welcoming a new mentor to their team. This team has provided us deeply thoughtful insights about how to facilitate a healthy mentor handoff.
Another team is regrouping after their youth was moved out of the county to attend a special school. They are exploring new ways to remain present for her and let her know how much they care about her despite the distance, and without the rhythm of their weekly visits.
And this weekend we helped another team bring their match to a close. For several months they have been mentoring an older teen who started to lose interest as school and friends and other concerns take up more of her time. These mentors have been patient and dedicated, determined not to give up on their youth until she was ready to move on.
Transitions provide an opportunity for reflection on where we have been and where we hope to go.
Transitions provide the opportunity to name what we have done well and what we wish we had done better. Transitions can bring up a whole range of emotions: grief, celebration, relief, disappointment. Transitions open up opportunities for new life.
And transitions are so much easier when they are held in community. Braid was designed as a series of concentric circles radiating outward: a youth surrounded by their team, a team being held by its facilitator, and a larger circle of community holding us all together.
This Saturday at the Braid team event, we will have the opportunity to hold and honor all of these transitions in that circle.
Barie is a member of the team whose match just closed, but in the midst of that transition she has been preparing a fun, reflective art activity that she will lead us in. Also on Saturday, we will all have the opportunity to write encouraging cards to the Braid youth who is settling into her new school. And we will all send Lynn off to grad school with our best wishes (and cake!).
We will stand in that larger circle together – those whose teams have been feeling some turbulence, and those who are there to hold their fellow mentors right now. The circle is big enough to hold all of our disappointments, all of our challenges, all of our hopes, all of our celebrations, all of our transitions.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)