“It’s coming. I can feel it.” That’s the refrain I hear too often these August days as the light mellows earlier in the evening and green things have lost their luster. Everything looks a little dry and tired. A little droopy. Long shadows seem shadowier.
I want to yell “NOOOOO!” and stamp my foot like a toddler fighting bedtime.
Instead I breathe deep and stay outside as long as possible, trying to ward off the inevitable, and the deep feeling of loss that accompanies it.
“Seasons change and so did I.” as the song says.
I have friends going away to college, those who are moving from single into married life; some who are expecting babies, one who just got fired, others who are sending their kids off to school for the first time, and those who will become empty-nesters.
Thirty years ago my husband John and I moved from our home and families in the Chicago area to serve at a church in Washington D.C. It was a huge seasonal change for us. John was required to attend a seminar on transitions and while he was there he had to take an assessment that assigned points to the the different changes in your life.
POINTS???! We love points! We’re a tad competitive :).
We were moving away from family for the first time, expecting a new baby (I was 8 months pregnant with our second when we moved), buying our first house, starting a new job in a new church culture. Each of these got points assigned to them indicating the amount of pressure in our life.
John came home and said, “Honey, I have good news and bad news. The good news is, we WON! We had more points than anyone there! The bad news is they said we should have been in counseling 50 points ago!”
Change, even good change brings stress. There’s an article I’ve saved for years that documents the effects of moving. Even a short move across town causes a level of anxiety because it’s fruit basket upset for relational patterns. All of a sudden there’s a new dry cleaner and mail person, and supermarket checkout person – the people you interact with daily. For students it’s new teachers, for others it’s new bosses or a new gaggle of moms to get to know.
Holy buckets! I hate change like most people do. These are just a few things that seem to help me:
- Phone a friend. We are relational beings, and it’s community that seems to take the hardest hit when we’re going through seasonal change. So when you’re low, call an old friend, but also reach out. Be brave and call someone new. Remember, if you’re feeling lonely, others are too.
- Be aware of the impact of change. Give yourself and your family extra grace during times of transition. (John had perpetually wet shoulders from absorbing all my tears the first year in D.C.)
- As much as possible, continue the spiritual rhythms you have put in place. We feel more out of control during these times. As I look back on our years living in D.C., the one thing that kept me going was a weekly community Bible study I attended where my kids were taken care of. What are the positive choices you can make that will be nurturing to your mind, heart and soul?
- Anchor your life in the one thing that is unchanging – God and His character. Make a practice of voicing the many things you’re grateful for. Specifically thank God for who He is, not just what He does. In our family we have a “Twelve Stones Book” taken from the biblical examples where God commands the Israelites to build visible memorials so they’ll remember His power (Joshua 4). In our book we record instances of God’s faithfulness in our family since we seem to have spiritual ADD.
So here’s to strolling through crunchy leaves, pumpkin spice lattes, and “bouquets of freshly sharpened pencils”.