Transition, Life, and Finding Peace in it All.

(Reflections from yesterday)

It seemed fitting to be sitting on a plane this morning, listening to Bette Midler singing, “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Funny thing is, it wasn’t my music playing. The woman next to me was blasting her music through her earphones so loud; all of us around could hear it. I am pretty sure she lost all her hearing after that flight.

This has been a crazy month of life for me and I am on my way to Colombia.

A couple of months ago, I started making plans for June because it was going to be an epic month. Two of my kids would graduate and I was turning 50. While I was on a flight coming back from Peru this last April, I had this idea to raise money for my 50th birthday. As many of you will remember, I decided to raise money for latrines for Compassion kids.

With a very happy heart, I can say that we did it! As of yesterday, we got the Toilets for Tanzania fully funded. We will now be able to help build 12 toilets for kids in Tanzania, a hand washing station, provide hygiene education, and soap. I can’t begin to express my gratitude to the many friends, family and people (some I didn’t know), who contributed. We did it!

Raising money was a great distraction to the overwhelming emotions I felt during this month of transition. I watched two of my kids walk across a stage to graduate.Julia graduation Julia moved back home like a boomerang, while Grace is planning her move to college.DSC_0924Last night, I had to chuckle when I listened to Julia and Grace argue who would get the dog on their bed for the night. Our dog, Levi, is spoiled and gets passed around like a little stuffed animal. As we were going to bed, Julia cried out, “The dog is mine tonight. I have been away to college, so I get the dog on my bed.”

Grace quickly disagreed. “The dog is on my bed tonight! I am leaving for college soon, so I should get the dog.”photo[18]Welcome to my life. It’s a good thing Isabel doesn’t even try to enter in. She doesn’t much care for the dog after he ate her Moonstruck dark chocolate bar, which then involved a vet visit to induce vomiting.

It’s funny how transition can impact emotions. I found myself in tears the other evening after hearing the ice cream truck driving around in our neighborhood. I had this perfect memory of my girls as small children, racing for their piggy banks to find some money for the ice cream truck. I remembered Grace, in her little blond bobbed haircut and freckled face, standing eagerly at the ice cream truck trying to decide if she wanted an orange creamsicle or a chocolate covered ice cream bar. The decision was often too difficult for her. Sometimes she would simply give up and walk away without anything. Those days passed all too quickly.

In the midst of college transitions and 50th birthday celebrations, listening to Bette Midler on a plane, and crying over the sound of an ice cream truck, Steve and I celebrated 24 years of marriage last week. And Steve, you’re the wind beneath my wings…or something like that. (The look he gives me when I am trying to take another picture). DSC_7470(Oh the funny things swirling in my head right now). I love you! It’s true.

We are definitely in transition and change though. The crazy part of me likes transition and I welcome change. After all, it’s exciting. My adventurous side says, “Bring it on! Let’s move to the country and have chickens. Lets try something new. Lets paint a room and redecorate. Lets go camping. Lets send our kid 4000 miles away to Belmont University.”

Surely, I drive Steve crazy. He then says, “Be patient, slow down, we aren’t getting chickens, please don’t start putting paint on the walls yet, you hate camping, and yes, lets send our kid to Belmont University.”

The sentimental part of me cries over ice cream trucks remembering the good old days of Grace’s indecisiveness, when summer meant a break from school, and life was predictable. The sentimental part of me can’t imagine my girl 4000 miles away at college.

Then, I feel conflicted with this idea of embracing change and feeling loss.

At Julia’s Baccalaureate, the speaker spoke about the word “liminal”. She expanded my vocabulary.

Liminal is defined this way:

  1. of or relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process.
  2. Occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.

She described this word as being in between. It’s transition, when you are at the end of one season, and before another season starts. It’s that place in between.

I connected to this word. It dawned on me; Steve and I are in the middle of seasons. We aren’t empty nesters, but it’s coming. My entire family is in the liminal. We are between seasons and transition.

I have come to realize that it’s ok to feel conflicted about change. It’s ok to have some excitement for the future, some sadness for what is gone, and some confusion for what is now.

These verses Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NASV)

I have often focused on the part about being anxious for nothing, but the idea of letting the peace of God, which transcend all understandingthis is what I need to work on now.

To find that peace means to be disciplined to be quiet, to stop, to listen, to pray, to Sabbath, to find the place of calm, instead of the place of chaos, especially during seasons of change.

To find peace means it’s ok to feel sad. It’s ok to feel emotional. It’s ok to feel excited. It’s ok to feel. We can find peace in every situation.

To find peace means I need to pray to God and confess my emotions to Him and ask Him to help me and to present my requests to God.

To find peace means that I need to seek contentment. In transition, I want answers. I want resolve. I want settlement. However, I need to find a place of contentment with whatever God has given me and let the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard my heart and my mind. God has given me my daily bread. God has given me what I need. When I realize this, I have peace.

After flying across Central and South America today, it’s truly taken me all day to write down my thoughts and process my emotions and think through my past month. It’s taken a long plane ride for me to find time, without the distraction of emails, phone calls, or any other tasks to settle my heart. It’s taken a plane ride for me to find something that has lacked in my life over the last week or two.

I found that peaceful place again, when you just realize, it’s all going to be ok, because HE is holding me.

3 Comments on “Transition, Life, and Finding Peace in it All.

  1. Pingback: » Transition, Life, and Finding Peace in it All.

  2. Good stuff…..really good! Thanks….I needed this today.

  3. This so resonated with me. We have many transitions this year too… one of which is my daughter graduating & starting university as well.

    Thanks for sharing your heart, Patricia. You have shared some wise words.

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Sandra Jones Counseling

Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy


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