Updated: Aug 26, 2021
I'm sure all of you have, many times, had to assemble a complex toy or gadget for your child. You confidently open the instructions, lay it flat on the floor, take a deep breath, and think, "Oh, this doesn't look too bad!" Several hours and many cuss words later, you are mangled inside a pile of "extra" pieces that don't seem to fit while your child stomps around the room wondering what is taking you so darn long!?! Been there. Done that.
As most of you know, I am a mom to three awesome kids...well, I hesitate to use that word "kids" these days as two are now launched off to college. When our first son left for college back in 2018, I felt so disoriented and caught off guard by the tsunami of emotions that always come with the first born leading you through all of the parental firsts. Nagging questions like "Did I do a good enough job?" "Does he forgive me for all my mistakes?" "Does he love God?" "Does he really know how much I love him?" lingered inside me for a long time. Still do, if I'm honest. When our second son left just a week ago, I had all of the same emotions but was hit by a new sense of awareness that the family we had "assembled" twenty one years ago now needs to be somewhat "re-assembled." No instructions. No YouTube tutorial. Just winging it. What I mean is I had to reconcile in my mind and heart that our family of five all doing our thing here under one roof is now forever reconfigured. I don't know about you, but change is hard for me. Knowing all I do about the brain, mind and body and how they intersect with me and my story, I understand why. Change is unnerving for me. Change can be scary, filled with uncertainties. Some people embrace that; I have to arm wrestle with it because inside predictability I find a false sense of safety. Still working on letting go of that lie.
I thought it might be helpful for at least some of you to take a peak inside the re-assembly process to do one of two things: normalize your own feelings if you are now shifting through hard changes, or, to prepare you for inevitable changes coming down your own pike.
When we navigate change in a healthy and appropriate way, we are taking good care of our brains and bodies. By resisting change, we usher in a cascade of stress chemicals that damage us in myriad ways. Deep breathing, journaling, praying, keeping active, living out purpose, clean eating, sleep, laughing, focusing on all that's right in our lives and staying close to those who matter most are all ways we can master the process of becoming something new.
Change, while hard, is beautiful. It means life is indeed progressing the way it ought to. That doesn't eliminate the grief of letting go, but it swirls together joy and love in a precious way that reminds you time is fleeting and that nothing gold can stay.
Wherever you are in life, stop and take a good look around at all of your blessings. These days, it's oh so easy to focus on all that's wrong with the world and even perhaps in your own life. There's so much chaos and fear. Do all you can to focus on the daily re-assembling of your life's journey. Lean into it. Give thanks for it. Keep pulling your mind to think on THESE things rather than all the toxicity. This way, we can all re-assemble as required with a beautiful surrender to the flow of life.