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Letting Go: When We Enter a New Chapter

letting-go-when-we-enter-a-new-chapterThis past summer I spent a week packing boxes with dear friends of mine moving back East from the West Coast. We made many trips to used bookstores, donation centers, and the dumpster. We wrapped their lives up into 11 categories—little compartments of 49 years of marriage rolled into newspapers, bubble wrap, and cardboard.

Waiting to be opened on the other side of a house sale and cross-country move, each box was evidence of life well-lived—together, real, and raw—caught within memories, fondly received presents, mementos from vacations, mugs for special occasions, and dated photographs. A mere song on the radio triggered a reflective wave of “remember when.”

We laughed ourselves silly going through shelves of books at 2 AM—how difficult it was to part with those pages from scattered memories and loved ones over five decades. We sobbed over discovered treasures from their childhoods. While not always easy, life had been good to them. I could see the value placed in considering each piece of it.

So, I asked myself:

How do we pack a lifetime into one 12 inch x 12 inch x 12 inch square at a time?

And the overall decision awaiting us as we dragged packing materials into each room?

Keep, donate, or throw out?

My friend, the wife, had so much courage, incredible stamina, and amazing strength as she divided her life into categories and choices. How do you take a 49 year marriage and family life and split it into thirds? How do you give away your life? How do you decide what to save and what to let go of?

I don’t know, but as I watched her do it, I knew deep within me that it is something we must all do. Self-reflection and life sorting is not only healthy, but it also opens space.

I had to move into a new chapter recently, one I really didn’t want: Read the rest of this entry »

 

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The Bridge of Transition

The Bridge of TransitionAs my youngest child was getting ready for school, I had an e-conversation with my sister-in-law. As I often do when I am reading someone’s story, I tried to imagine what it’s like to have one child graduating high school this year and another one doing the same a year later. I could picture it, but it was surreal to me. It’s not my current transition. But it is hers.

My whole year has been an extended transition: One child entered high school while one started middle school. Every day, I switch gears between fellow high school-er parents talking about student drivers and SAT prep and the typical middle school concerns of “mean girls” and safe texting guidelines. Meanwhile, I’m still in the “playdate” phase of raising my third child.

Some days, all I seem to do all day is transition: at-home responsibilities, writing, arranging appointments, taxi driving, counseling the one quickly approaching adulthood, and navigating the social wrecking ball that is middle school. (I’m convinced that once you survive middle school, you have the thick skin needed to go directly into the military or a career in psychology!)

As I write this in the early morning, coffee half-consumed, my iCalendar keeps popping up with new band performances and rehearsals. It’s comforting to “hear” from my oldest son, if even through a brief data entry about yet another place I have to drive him.

Maybe this title should be about interruptions and not transitions, but wait!

Aren’t they often the same thing?

Read the rest of this entry »

 

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