Saturday, August 12, 2006

Transitions are Tough

As I mentioned in a previous post I learned this week that a dear friend passed away unexpectedly a few weeks ago at the age of 43. Upon hearing this news I was in a state of disbelief, shock and denial. Those feelings were soon accompanied by an overwhelming sadness at the thought of never seeing Mike again or hearing him laugh or hearing his words of positive encouragement and prayer. I've been thinking a lot this week about transitions and their impact on our lives. People and things are in our lives for a season and often for a reason. Part of the problem of transitions is that we've become comfortable with those things and people -- they are familiar to us and we are somehow lost when they are no longer in our lives. In these cases, the sadness and loss of the transition is not so much about the thing that we've lost or the person we've lost, but about us -- How can I go on without_____? Why was he taken away from ME? And so on. Another part of transition (especially those involving someone's death) is that we must then face our own mortality. Mike was 43, I'm 58. When my brother died several years ago, he was two years older than me and I was sure that I would soon follow him in death. The truth that none of us really wants to face is that we don't live forever and that none of us gets any younger. Life is fragile -- people die from illness and accidents all the time without regard to age or station in life. That means that life is precious and needs to be lived to the fullest. We dare not put off telling our loved ones that we love them -- they or we might not be here tomorrow to share that news. We dare not put off visiting those who are indeed ill. I did that once and learned the hard way that it was the wrong choice. I never got to say good bye in that case.

Relationship transitions and job transitions sometimes have similar effects on us. We feel lost, at odds, in need of healing or comfort. There is a flip side to this down part of transitions -- they signal not only an end or change, but also a beginning, a time of renewing, an opportunity to grow. It all depends on how we address the transition. Is it a bad thing? Sad perhaps, but not necessarily bad. Looking again at Mike, I believe that even though we are sad and lonely, he was ready to go to be with Jesus. he knew that he knew and I believe that going when he did made him a happy angel. Job losses are frightening, but often give the encouragement and opportunity for new career paths. Relationship changes can open doors to our individuality that we didn't know or had forgotten existed.

I don't know how to conclude this post. I think what is best is to say that I hope that each of you reading this post may face your life transitions in a positive way seeking the good that can occur rather than falling into depression, sadness, hurt, and stagnation. Nothing but the love of God is forever. Cling to God's presence and promise and He will see you through the tough times.

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