Every day my husband leaves for work, and our daughter Mea, like a little duckling, follows him outside. He gathers her up in his arms, kisses her, then proceeds to start his truck and drive away. I stand in the driveway beside her as she waves frantically at his departure. We move from the driveway to the middle of the street and watch his truck become toy size. I try and negotiate a way to get her back inside because I am still in my sweats and nightshirt, but Mea doesn’t budge. She waves her hands high until he turns the corner and his truck is out of sight. Once he is gone, I can nudge her back inside and, finally, get on with my day.
I don’t like goodbyes. Especially the goodbyes when a “hello again” can’t be penciled in on the calendar. This month, two family members are moving and taking my nieces and nephew with them. I’ve been lucky enough to have my family close by. For years, we’ve gathered for holidays, Sunday lunches, and summer swims. It has always been joyous and convenient. One family is moving to Texas and another Florida. I have no idea when we will all be together again.
We gathered for Mother’s Day and as we prayed before the meal, our arms looped in and around each other’s arms like pretzels. It felt safe. After the kids played tag, burned things in the bonfire, and finished the coconut cake, we all slowly said goodbye. There were tears and laughter to ease off the sadness, but days that once seemed so normal will now be “remember when” stories. I wanted to scream, “Please don’t leave!”
I’m not good with transition or change. I always order the same Starbucks drink. I don’t like trying new restaurants, and I’ve been driving the same car for, well, forever. But there is so much transition right now. Soon, my son will enter high school, and my youngest will start preschool. For the first time in fifteen years, I won’t be managing nap time or changing diapers. To be honest, this change scares me. Who am I without a baby? What do I do with my time? What do holidays look like without all of our extended family?
Transition is painful. The anticipation of it is grueling. I am tempted to pretend it isn’t coming. I look away at other more delightful things. I focus on the positives. I binge-watch old episodes of my favorite TV show. I distract myself from reality just long enough not to feel the sting of it. But we are all in some sort of transition. We’re all pressing on the gas and looking in our rearview mirrors. We’re scattering new seeds and pulling up unwanted weeds. We’re always starting something new and letting go of something old. We aren’t called to do transition perfectly, but we can learn how to do it well.
I remember the words of Jesus before He transcended to heaven. He walked, talked, and lived among the disciples and hundreds more after His resurrection. His words of love before He left them went like this, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love” (John 15:9 NIV). The word that stands out to me the most is — remain. Stay. Up until the very last moment, Jesus stayed with those He loved. He invited them to remain in His love. Even in the change, the only constant is Christ’s love.
I lean into the love of Christ today. With every word of my sad story of change, I trust in the sturdiness of God’s love. I don’t have to glance away when goodbyes are coming. I don’t have to only find the pretty. I can hold grief and gratitude in the same hand. Transitions can be hard. I can keep them at arm’s length, or I can enter them with the hope that God’s arms will reach me no matter what uncontrollable circumstances come my way. I can be like my daughter who waves goodbye enthusiastically until the very last moment.
The invitation to you, dear sisters, in the midst of change is to remain in Christ’s love. Lean heavy on His side. Loop arms with His. No matter how scary or unwanted the transition may be, God’s invitation is to remain in His love.Leave a Comment