- movement, passage, or change from one position, state, stage, subject, concept, etc., to another;change:
For the past 5 months, it has been said that our family is in a time of transition. I understand that what is meant by that word, but it seems to be a poor description of what we have been experiencing. “Transition” sound like dancers moving from one side of a stage to the other through a series of choreographed movements. It sounds like destination has been determined and the means and process to reach it has been mapped out.
“Tornado”, “hurricane” or “earthquake” would be a more appropriate terms to describe our life for the majority of 2018.
We left a life, namely a church, that we had invested everything into for the past 12 years. There were so many beloved people to whom we said good-bye. Our house took what felt like forever to sell and consumed so much energy before we finally got an offer only hours before flying out for England. The transition away from our former world was exhausting, trying and anything but smooth and planned out.
Setting up life in England has involved hours spent on the phone trying to get companies to service us without a UK bank account (which you cannot get without a UK address). Buying a car alone took over a week. Our rental house has given us a place to feel like we have a place where we belong. . .temporarily. We have made countless trips to grocery stores (the fridge is oh, so very small) where we have forgotten to bring our own bags, only to have to buy more. No retail location gives bags out here and it feels like an opportunity designed to make you feel stupid when you forget yours. We have registered with the NHS (National Healthcare System) and even have an emergency room visit and doctor’s visit under our belts (nothing serious, just a 3-year-old who dislocated her elbow one late night and a chest infection.) Randy has been driving on the opposite side of the road like a champion. Meanwhile, every day that passes where I don’t have the guts to get behind the wheel, makes me fear that I will never actually have that freedom again. The looming UK driving test is daunting to both of us. All in all, we have been in survival mode, but we are surviving.
It felt like everything came to a head or perhaps we entered the eye of the storm this past week with our children beginning school. New schools in a new culture, all of them not knowing a single soul on that first day.
I should have seen the clouds gathering when we frantically purchased uniforms the day before school as one of our kids didn’t get a place until that day. (We had been begging for a space for him all summer, but the school wasn’t sure they wanted to give it to him until they met us. Um, thanks.) The night before school started we realized that we had to finally purchase an iron and ironing board because these uniforms were legit. We are talking ties, blazers, dress pants and dress shoes. I am in awe of the fact that my boys are putting these things on and wearing them without flipping out, but they are being so cool about it, that I am resolved to conceal my wonder of it all. As I ironed at 10 p.m., I realized that we had accidently bought girl shirts for one of the boys. Deep breaths, prayers of thanksgiving that there is a tie to cover the pearly buttons and a blazer to go over the feminine cut of the pocket and prayers that he will not notice. . . His brother pointed it out right before we left the house the next morning.
Without going into details, the first day of school was abundantly HARD for all of our kids and an absolute nightmare for one of them. Someone once said that “motherhood means having your heart walk around outside of your body” and I have never felt the truth of that statement more than this week. I wish so badly that I could have somehow saved them from what they inevitably had to walk through. Looking back, I feel like we did a poor job of preparing them. I usually tend to operate under the philosophy that if you throw enough enthusiasm at the unknown, it will turn out. We were excited that the girls were going to the same school and that the boys were too. We were excited about the neat uniforms. We were excited about how engaging and kind the staff members of the schools were. The school that the girls are attending has alpacas. . .how could this go wrong? What we failed to consider was how like “fish out of water” the kids were going to feel on those first days. They were going to feel all alone. Cultural differences were going to be magnified. Coupled with memories of the schools and friends that they knew were under operation in Pennsylvania, they were set up for a dismal case of homesickness, alienation and sadness.
After hearing of their first day experiences, I cried. . . a lot. My heart just broke over the pain that they had experienced. The teacher of the child who had the worst day ever, called and I cried to him. I have only a slight handle on British culture, but I do know that crying on the phone to a complete stranger isn’t in keeping with the attitude of a “stiff upper lip.” By the time we reached Friday, I felt like I had jet lag again, because I was so emotionally exhausted.
So, we are transitioning . . .that word also has connotations of me staying the same, while changing locations. However, I am beginning to believe that this is a recreation of a whole new life. My faith in God as my Creator who is in control of all things has been an anchor for my soul for the majority of my existance, but never as much as it is now. In Genesis one, it says that His Spirit hovered over the earth that was without form and void and then He created this magnificent world. I am beseeching His Spirit to hover over this life and create a new thing from what feels like chaos.
“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” Hebrews 1:10-12
There have been moments where it has felt like my whole world has disappeared, but it breathes new life into me to remember that my Creator is always the same and that He has no end. This physical world will one day pass away and he will roll it up like laundry. He is the rock who sets the foundation of my life; even with all of its stormy, changes.
“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
I have been thinking about a sermon that my husband taught one time from Mark 4 about how Jesus told his disciples that that they were going to go to the other side of the lake in a boat. During their trip, a storm arose. Jesus was sleeping and they woke him up. “Don’t you care that we are going to drown?” My kids have said that to me this week in so many words. . .I am not the Creator who can command the waves to obey, but I know that Jesus is in our boat. We will weather this hurricane of change. Transitioning, we are not, but we will make it to the other side.