Sunset, the Waning Moon, and Accepting Change


“We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanence, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity, in freedom, in the sense that dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Gift from the Sea

Accepting change

I looked up last evening. The waning moon hung suspended just above brilliant orange clouds. So very briefly the ending day and the old moon danced together.


The past weeks have been a season of change for me. Maybe all seasons are seasons of change. I am most aware of changes when things end. Recently my family said goodbye to a church where I had a sense of belonging and returned to one where I feel like an outsider even though I attended there for several years some time back. I resigned from a couple of ministries at the old church. I never meant to draw my identity from my ministries, but now that they are gone I confess that I miss the sense of being respected and useful they brought me. I’m 50 now and acutely aware of my waning hormones and the knowledge that whatever youth remains with me is in its waning phase too. Relationships go through these waxing and waning cycles too. Sometimes we draw closer to those we love and other times we slide apart. I love intimacy, emotional intimacy most of all. When I find a relationship naturally encountering greater distance I tend to panic as though we will never draw closer again.

I react to these changes as I always do, clinging to what was as if by clinging I could keep the sun above the horizon at the end of the day. At such times I tend to forget that my life has had the same number of sunrises as sunsets and that the moon waxes until it is full after every time it grows dark and disappears. Everything and everyone changes. Almost.

In Revelation the poet/ pastor/ apostle John sat alone on a barren island. He’d been ripped away from his church and from the people he loved. Jesus spoke to him, identifying himself with a title of changeless permanence. Sometimes when I futilely try to hold the sun above the horizon and the moon at its fullest phase, when I am lonely or feeling loss, his words echo all the way to my soul.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is…”

“ I am alive, active and present as I have been since the beginning. I am still I AM“

“… and who was”

“I have been active for my people throughout history and I am the God who has been active for you throughout your history.”

“ … and who is to come”

I hold your future too. I am already there. Do not fear. You will rise again too.

“I am …the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8)

Just in case you’ve forgotten, Beth, I’m plenty powerful enough to handle any challenges that come your way.

And eventually I cease striving and remember to see beauty as the ending day and the old moon dance together.

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4 Responses to Sunset, the Waning Moon, and Accepting Change

  1. Katie Sturm June 29, 2014 at 8:31 am #

    This sounds wonderful. I’ll look for the book at the library this week. Love you!

  2. Carrie June 5, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

    Beautiful. Yes, exactly right. Well written, and well said. I keep reminding myself that as one stage ends, so the next begins, and to look at it with open eyes and heart. It’s all an adventure, and I don’t want to spend too much time in any one stage, or season, regretting what the last one did or did not contain.

    Thanks, my friend.

    • Beth Ratzlaff June 6, 2014 at 8:46 am #

      I agree, seeing life as an adventure, not expecting it to be pain free until heaven, allows us to enjoy each day for what it is. Thanks, friend!


  1. An Invitation to Summer | Beth Ratzlaff - June 12, 2014

    […] Most of us have responsibilities, obligations, relationships, and skinny bank accounts that prevent us from going to a beach for 2 weeks all alone. Even if we can’t physically leave our jobs and our families and go to the beach, we can summer in smaller ways. We could make some ice tea, settle into a comfortable chair during a quiet edge of the day, and read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea together. The book is simple and short. The gentle rhythm of her beautiful words echo the rhythm of waves on the shore. How about spending a few minutes with Anne on the beach each week? Then, we can chat about it together using technology Anne couldn’t have imagined. Pick up a copy of Gift from the Sea at the library, bookstore, or here. Each week I will post a few of my thoughts and we will discuss an idea from the book over on my facebook page.  We can share creative ways to summer on a Pinterest board . Even if you aren’t reading the book, come share a bit of your journey and think with us about simplicity, centering, solitude, etc. Will you join in? I’d love to know whether I can pull up a chair for you on my virtual beach! Get a little taste of the book in last week’s post, Sunset, the Waning Moon, and Accepting Change. […]

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