Transitions: Part One


Transitions are so awkward.
You have one foot one place and one foot somewhere else. You’re afraid to leave and can’t wait to go all at the same time. 
 
They’re rarely neat and clean.
Transitions often come with a lot of back and forth. For instance, I’ve taken my fleece jackets in and out of the closet for the last 30 days. Ditto all my long-sleeved tops. One day it’s 70 degrees and the next it’s 50. Or its 60 when I go to bed and 37 when I wake up. It’s hard to know what to wear so I go with layers and shed them all day like a snake.
 
The wild kingdom is in transition, too. The bears are back, raiding our trash, and the squirrels race to and fro with their cheeks stuffed full of acorns, which are huge and plentiful this year. The trees have shed most of their leaves. The vines clinging to the garage are the last stronghold
of last months’ reds and yellows.
 
Transitions are clumsy.
Being anxious during transitions is utterly natural. I’m not sure it really matters how many times you do it. Each transition brings its own angst, its own set of harsh realities and challenges.
 
You’ve been in transition your whole life.
Starting when you were forcefully ejected from the warm, quiet safety of your mother’s womb and came screaming out into a
glaringly bright, loud, busy world.
 
The fun continued when you learned how to walk, which started with you falling down a lot. Human bipedalism is a dicey thing to master. And before you could take the first step, you had to build your strength and coordination. You had to pull yourself up again and again. And there’s a never-ending irony to that. It’s like my pediatrician’s nurse always said, “We tell our babies to hurry up and walk, hurry up and talk, and then we tell them to sit down and shut up.”
 
No wonder we’re leery of transitions.
I think half my adult insecurity comes from my first day in kindergarten. I remember standing in the doorway of a cavernous space in the “other” big church in town, First Baptist. As the Methodist pastor’s daughter, there I was, behind enemy lines, holding my mother’s hand, and looking at all these little people my size that I didn’t know. Mother handed me off to the teacher who led me to my “place” at a long table filled with paper and crayons. Learning “my place” has been a life-long activity.
 
At the end of that day, I had a clumsy drawing of the letters A through D, a belly full of graham crackers, Kool-Aid stained lips, and no new friends. I was the new girl on the block most of my childhood. All those childhood transitions made me good at meeting people and slow to make friends.
 
Transitions are risky affairs.
The status quo is boring but predictable. The transitions we’re in right now are like playing a slot machine without any quarters.
 
We’re transitioning from one president to another. We’ve gone from stock market highs to struggling economies; from the safety of a first world nation to victims of a pandemic that has no national boundaries.
 
Between the presidency and the pandemic, we’re faced with an ugly truth:
As a widow, you already know we’re not in control of life’s transitions.
 
Transitions are awkward, clumsy, risky things
they make us feel insecure and out of control. But the truth of the matter is you and I aren’t in control. You never were in control and you will never be in control. Control is a delusion – a fatalistic one.
 
The only control you ever really have is over how you react to what is.
So perhaps with all the transitions coming your way, it may be time to take a step back and quiet your heart. To feel your breath rising and falling, entering and leaving. Every inhale gives you another moment of life while each exhale rids your lungs of what no longer serves you.
 
When transitions are hard, security can seem very far away. No matter what transition you are facing, know that God is there. Remember that God is in control and God is already on the other side of that transition, ready to give you your next breath.

Never forget that God is there.

The holidays are coming. If you, or someone you know,
would like some ideas as to how to move through them
gracefully, click here to download my free planning guide.

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