FF40 – Day 35 on Transition | From Sally Holt


Genesis 32:28 | Isaiah 44:8 | John 14:1-3

In this Genesis text, Jacob is given a new name. He will henceforth be called
Israel, because he has struggled with the Divine. There is some mystery
surrounding this text, because we are left to wonder whether the being
Jacob struggled with was God or an angelic presence. We are not left to
wonder though, about the outcome. Jacob has survived, and he has been
transformed. He is not only a person with a new name. He has also been
physically transformed, because just a few verses earlier, we learn that
Jacob’s hip has been touched, and that he will now walk with a limp. He has
undergone levels of transformation—spiritual, physical, emotional—and this
marks an important transition in his life. He is no longer as he used to be. He
is someone new.

College is a time of transition. We all go through many changes as we age
and develop, and college is one of the more remarkable transitions that
many of us encounter. It is a time when we are transformed, and this can be
unnerving, even if it is something that we prepare for and desire. Just think
about learning to drive, or consider the expectant mother getting ready
to birth her first child. Transitions are oftentimes hard!  College involves
leaving the familiar behind. Comforts are no longer close at hand, and a new
student can expect to encounter new places, new people and new ideas and
experiences. As you come into this experience, you will struggle. Change
necessarily involves struggle. And when you leave this place, hopefully as
a successful graduate, you will be new. It’s not that the person you are now
will pass away. Rather, the person you are now will be transformed. Your
experiences, your thoughts, the friends you have yet to make, will all impact
who you are becoming and who you will be.

Take time to immerse yourself in the process of becoming and being.
Becoming means being open to the new places, people, ideas and
experiences that you will have, and being means who and what you are a
part of now. Do not spend too much time reflecting on the past, and do not
spend too much time thinking about life after college. Be here now. Become
now. A school friend of mine once gave me wise advice. Instead of wishing
away the semester or counting the credits earned toward graduation, she
reminded me that learning was the very best part of being a student. It is
something to enjoy, to relish. So be like Jacob who becomes Israel. Struggle
and be transformed. Wrestle even if you are afraid. Experience the transition.
You will be new and God will be with you in every part of the journey.

Sally Holt
Associate Professor of Religion



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