First of all, if you’ve ever seen Fiddler on the Roof you will forever more sing “Transition” in the same voice as the song “Tradition.” If you haven’t seen it…watch this link: Tradition. You’re welcome. Transition!
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, on to my thoughts on transitions in life. Have you ever giggled your way through a fun house? You run up the stairs and stand in front of the mirrors. You love the silliness of seeing yourself elongated and goofy or short and stout with no neck and cheeks as wide as your shoulders! The music is loud and disorienting. There’s a rickety bridge to run across. There might be a maze of bungee cords to navigate or blasts of air that hit you in the face for a second. Fun times. Then you get to the cylinder that’s rotating at the end.
That moving obstacle that you have to move through is transition. You can’t go backward and you can’t stay in the fun house forever. You have to transition through a tunnel-type feature that might cause you to fall or make you feel like a fool or give you a queasy stomach. You can run or walk or crawl. But you have to transition.
That’s a lot like life. Transitions in life can be quick and only mildly disorienting. They can also go on and on, feeling like you’re stuck in a vortex that’s spinning and spinning. When does it end? How do I get out? I think I’m going to be sick…
Yup. Fun times.
In case you’re wondering, though, in my life…that fun house is a lot like Navy life. Honestly, it’s a lot like any life. There are twists and turns. Many of us have the ability to focus on what’s good and laugh our way through because there’s a lot to enjoy, but every few years I’m forced to face a transitional time that flusters me. I’m forced to leave the house that we’ve made our home. I’m forced to say farewell to people who have laughed and cried with me – sometimes who’ve laughed so hard they’ve cried with me!
But change, I must. And sometimes I recover well. Other times it takes a long time for my stomach to settle after getting dizzy from the feeling that my life spiraled round and round just like the cylinder.
When we moved three times in two years a few years ago, that was one of those times that I felt caught in the kaleidoscope. I didn’t even realize it until I was venting to a friend about something and she asked me to give myself a break and realize that we hadn’t really been settled that whole time. I was trying to blossom where I was but there wasn’t even time to fertilize the soil. I did give myself a break, though. And in that down time, you know that time where you just walk around the fairgrounds and eat fried dough, I found myself refreshed and excited about the next fun house!
So, what I’ve learned is that living in constant transition is survivable. Change is hard, but growth is good. I’ve been fully immersed in my own fun house lately – this one even has a slide! Life is great and definitely blossoming, like maybe someone dusted me with Miracle-Gro type blossoming! But coming into view I can start to see the spiraling of transition ahead. I can only hope that this one will be a good one. I do know that I’m going to continue belly-laughing every chance I get and try not to fear what’s coming.
And maybe when I stand up tall on the other side of the disorienting obstacles ahead, I’ll throw my fist in the air and sing, “TRANSITIOOOOON. Transition!!!”