The month of January is named after the Roman god Janus. Janus has one head but two faces, each turned in opposite directions. Janus is the god of doors, gates, and transitions. So January is aptly named, a time to look back and gaze forward.
We all have Janus moments in life where we stand in a doorway between two rooms. We pause at a pivotal moment between two seasons of life. We can’t stay in the doorway. We need to set down our things and settle in a room. But there are times where we feel “in between" two places.
Going off to college.
A relationship change.
Illness or injury.
Children growing up and moving on.
Doorway moments are uncomfortable for two reasons. First, there is grief because you’re leaving something behind. The room you came from is one you can never go back to. Like childhood, there is no reverse. Life is a series of “necessary losses" as you leave one stage and move on to the next.
Second, there is uncertainty (and even fear) because you’re entering uncharted territory. The next room is one you have not been in before. It’s foreign and the furniture is strange. It takes time to orient yourself to the new reality.
So what do we do in these doorway times of life? Like Janus, we must look back and look forward at the same time.
Looking back: What has ended? Can I let it go? Can I thank God for this and move ahead?
Looking forward: What new thing is emerging and beginning? What is God doing in this new season? What should I lean into?
Dag Hammarskjold wrote a prayer that sums this up:
For all that you have done, thank you! For all that you will do, yes!"
Thank God for what has been and what you’ve come through, even the fires. And anticipate with faith the things that will come. Keep your eyes on the horizon and your hand in the Lord’s. “My times are in your hands" (Ps. 31:15).
Doorway moments are more about faith than strategy. Your reason will not get you through. Your God will.
Doorway moments are both an end and a beginning. This is the Christian life, a series of deaths and resurrections, of grief and gain. As you stand on the threshold, happy January!