My paper-as-pregnancy analogy almost got a baby rumor started on Facebook this weekend when I posted this as my status:
“I feel like I just gave birth! My paper…this ginormous brain child…is finally all out on the page (ok, all 18 pages). Momma needs to sleep for a week.”
One of my overseas friends (who speaks Romanian as her first language) thought that I was talking about a REAL baby. Apparently the Americanism “brain child” doesn’t translate clearly.
Right now, the only school-related thing standing between me and graduation is my Spanish final exam. I wish I could say it will be a breeze, but my mind gets so turned around when confronted by the minute differences between the zillion verb conjugations …. So it’s safe to say I have one more heavy day of study before I’m in the clear. I know that God will give me strength to persevere!
“Skillful Navigation of Transitions”
As I recovered from the sleepless night on Thursday, I was reading friend’s blogs (what else do you do when sleep-deprived, right?) and I came across a post by my Uncle Dave.
Aside: This particular uncle is like a walking, balding skyscraper chock-full of wisdom, witticisms and puns. He is the pastor of a large church in Houston, and granddad to five. He is also an excellent writer. In this case, he was sharing his thoughts on a book called Transitions by William Bridges. Ok, on to the article.
In it, he writes about something that all of us have experienced: losing something we didn’t want to lose.
It may be severe—like losing a parent.
It may be mild—like getting a stubborn stain on a favorite T-shirt.
But in every case, there are three stages:
1) Death—this is when “something ends.” It may be a literal death, or simply the end of a loved season of life, a job, etc.
2) Chaos and Confusion—the emotions we feel in the aftermath, like confusion, anger, sadness and anxiety because we don’t see a solution in sight.
3) Rebirth—In this stage, the void we felt is now filled, even if the precious thing or person we lost can never be exactly replaced. We no longer feel confusion, and the grief has faded into acceptance or even beauty.
This resonated with me, because it gave a name to my recent emotions about friends, and about graduation. As friends move away, something ends, even if the friendship lives on in facebook chats and blogs. As I graduate, something ends, even if the next phase is full and beautiful. I guess I’ve been…grieving…in a mild way.
His advice for each step can be boiled down to one thing: “Stay close to the Shepherd”.
In stage one, we can’t ignore the pain or say it doesn’t hurt. We have to be authentic with ourselves and let the grieving happen. Oh, and this is a biggie: “resist the urge to self-medicate”. Above all, get close to God.
In stage two, we have to fight the tendency to withdraw or give in to pessimism. Stay connected to people. Test their advice with clear thinking and prayer. (Aka, stay close to the Shepherd again).
Stage three is all about thankfulness for the rebirth that has happened (to who else? Jesus). Cherish it and share the story—it might encourage people who lost something similar but are still in stage 1 or 2.
Good stuff for my heart. To read the full article, click here.