Transitions Challenge Us to Take a Step Upward

mapleleaf

Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else.   – Tom Stoppard

Looking at fall leaves in New England is a joy. Colors are vivid and varied and cover the hillsides. The underside of an autumn maple leaf is subtle, yet beautiful. I like the color, but I’ve never before looked at the flip side this time of year.

When our lives go through a change of seasons it is easy to see only the surface side of the situation. If the transition is sad we usually only see the pain. When the underside, or flip side of our circumstances may reveal something we hadn’t noticed before.

Divorce devastated me. I couldn’t see or think clearly. I didn’t want my life to change. Everything did change. My world flipped over. Several seasons came and went before I could smile again. I got my power back when I began to accept the situation and look for positives. I learned a great deal. As Robert Brumet states in Finding Yourself in Transition: Using Life’s Changes for Spiritual Awakening, “Finding my way back to the missing part of myself, reclaiming it from the person or thing now gone, is the process I have called grieving. It is, literally, a lifesaving process.” Forced transitions can be, and often are, life changing and enriching. Brunet also says, “It is not so much the event itself that will alter our lives as much as the meaning we give to it.” Finding the positives requires an effort for most of us. Looking back I see them more clearly.

Some of the positives were meeting new friends that are still friends today. We made new memories together with our children. I returned to college to expand my horizons as well as my earning potential I was free to worship at the church of my choice. Ultimately I remarried and my husband has helped heal many of my children’s wounds.

Crises come into every life. How we look at them makes all the difference. Paradox shows up and can confuse us if we let it. Accepting the mystery is the challenge. Here is an example.

Amanda, one of my students, was totally blind from birth. I was her Braille teacher from preschool. One day in elementary school her class was having a sharing time. A little boy spoke up and said, “Last night at church we prayed for Amanda. I prayed that she could see.” This seemed natural for a young child, but Amanda retorted quickly. She said, “Oh no! Don’t do that. If I weren’t blind I wouldn’t get to go to the resource room. I wouldn’t have Mrs. Parks.” (My name at the time.) A paradox of life for sure.

She and I have influenced each other over many years. She recently graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in computer science. She is also a member of Mensa.

Don’t cry to the Lord for help, but rather claim the creative power of God already at work in your life . . .and then move forward in faith, despite all apparent obstacles. – Robert Brumet

Gail in purple speaking with hand gesturesGail raised three children as a single mother before she remarried. She has experienced the potholes, pests, and perils of being the single head-of-household. As an educator in regular and special education for twenty years she knows a great deal about child development and how to handle kids. She is the founder of SMORE for Women, a nonprofit whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, and Empowered. She is a Certified Professional Coach and her stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. Her book, Living Learning Loving is available on CreateSpace, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble online.

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