For the adolescents in my nest everything seems too big. There is no context or perspective, only borderless heartache and unrestrained delight. Through the lens of midlife, I understand fully that experience will eventually come to their rescue, but for now there are only extremes. I have experienced undeniable seasons of both wildness and settledness, but adolescence is a season of neither. The intent of the emerging human is quite simply, to become. It is a place between who they have been and who they are about to be, and I suspect that quite often it feels like no place at all.
My babies are becoming. They no longer fall asleep in my eager limbs, their warm breath on my face, the rhythm of their heartbeats tangled with mine. They are leaving me, growing up and inching away. I often reach to sweep back wisps of blond from their foreheads, whispering just under my breath, stay little ones, stay. But each one of these beings, vibrating with potential, are standing on the cusp of becoming someone. And though they are nowhere close to knowing what and who they would like to be, my wild little warriors with a hint gypsy in their veins certainly deserve the chance to find out. Change is messy, like a windblown room, and standing in its midst I recognize that I have been so focused on building butterflies that I have pondered very little their eventual release. There is a poignant wrenching of a mother’s heart in the awareness of her children’s tenuous steps into an anxious and unsettling world.
Transitions are unnerving at best. In times of flux I often find myself desperately gathering the pieces of life’s puzzle, working urgently to unearth the big picture. What I am learning in this season, however, is that not every puzzle is intended to be immediately solved. In transition there is great value in stillness, in patience, time and sweet ambiguity, but I have yet to master still. Hurry is my wheelhouse. I can often be found searching for next without fully entering now, leaving a thousand broken and missed things in the minefield of my haste. On the cusp of this transition, however, under a sky full of surprises, I am suspended in mid-air, trusting the Creator for all I have yet to see.
Change is not to be feared. Gained from the experience of my own deep longing for a perfect ending that was not to be, is the perspective of something beautiful behind a blank canvas. In the nothingness of new beginnings lies breathtaking possibility. It is the artist’s measured strokes that create the story. Life is uncertain…boldly, wildly, beautifully, imperfectly full of delicious tension. And though my intellect longs for clarity and certainty, my spirit knows that the fullness of joy and the fascination of uncertainty is discovered only in surrender.
What I am learning in loving my emerging tribe is that parents seldom let go of their children. It is children who let go first. And though endings are famously bittersweet, there is something to look forward to on the other side. Life on earth is lived in bits and pieces, but the Father in Heaven has unmatched depth and breadth of perspective. Deep faith simply means noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort of uncertainty, and embracing change in the light of an unchanging God. As one chapter is accomplished, the pen is cautiously inking up in anticipation of the next. It is the sufficiency and fullness of Jesus that builds the capacity for delight in the obscurity of an unfinished story.