Guest blogger *Maribeth Harper gives us her best advice on how to smoothly handle transition, no matter your stage in life.
Monday morning was transition day in our home. My husband started a new job, our daughter returned to hers (she had the summer off) and our grandchildren were out buying new school shoes and backpacks in the nick of time for the first day of class. Through Praying College Moms, I heard from several moms who were either jubilant or tearful and despondent about having just dropped off their child off to college. All of them felt some angst: wondering how to best spend their newfound free time and/or missing their children terribly, and worrying about their safety and success. So many emotions! Perfectly normal, right?
No one really likes transitions. Some of us like change, like the changing seasons. But most of us dread the anticipation of knowing that something big is about to happen. And this time of year is rife with transitions.
One mom expressed the mix of feelings well: “On the one hand, I am relieved that the summer is over and she’s finally at college, safe and sound and all set up. But I really miss her, and I miss her help with driving the kids around,” she chuckled. “And I’m sad…about the passage of time,” she added pensively.
How do we manage the turmoil that transitions can stir up in our hearts?
We listen to the voice of Wisdom who pleads, “'Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.'” (Mark 6:31) In this day and age, quiet, solemn places of refuge are rare. Fortunately, there’s an Adoration chapel near you. Inside this small, intimate space, Our Lord waits for us -- the Eucharist is exposed in a monstrance, and we can often sit very close by. In this divine stillness, He calls us leave our negativity, our worry, and our every concern at His feet, and to exchange the mess for a beautiful friendship with Him. He “calms the storms” of our emotions. Sometimes, very suddenly, peace pervades.
When I wrote And So We Pray, a friend told me about a time she found herself unexpectedly at an Adoration chapel after having dropped her last child at college. She shared: “I often go in anxious, and I try to spend time in praise and worship, rather than list all the problems I’m having. That helps reset my mood,” she said. “Then I tell the Lord, ‘Here I am; let’s go through this again…’ He must be bored with my repeating myself, but I hand it all over the altar to Him. Usually, when I leave, I feel like I really have left my sadness there. Three days later, it’s kind of back so I return to the adoration chapel. I’m not accustomed to praying in silence and get fidgety. It’s difficult, but I also find great peace there. By forcing myself to sit, focus, rest, and listen, it has become really fruitful. I am aware that God is handling everything. He’s got it all: my son’s college career, my daughter’s professional life, and my marriage, so I can walk away and feel better.” (p. 50)
Praying at an Adoration chapel requires no formulaic prayers, no special books, no prerequisite knowledge. We simply bring ourselves to Him and He heals us. Traditionally, worshipers stay an hour but any length of time is acceptable to the King of Kings. Stop in on your way home from work, before a Saturday run, or on your way to the grocery. He is always be happy to listen, calm us down, and free us from the anxiety of any transition, large or small.
"There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens." Ecclesiastes 3:1
It is so difficult to let go, to change, to grow, to trust that You have all in Your capable hands and see all with Your loving gaze. Help me to entrust my family and myself to You and embrace this change in seasons and in schedules. Please grant me the grace to enlarge the circle of my life, giving me an increased capacity to do the things I love and a greater desire to spend deeper and more extended times of intimacy with You.
I ask this in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
*Maribeth Harper celebrated paying the last tuition check for her kids’ college by writing a book for moms who have college-aged young adults, And So We Pray. She blogs about parenting adult children at andsowepray.com. She is a wife of 35 years, mother of four and grandmother of six and counting.