Life is full of transitions. My sentiment about this fact can be summed up in a single word:
That was one of Frog and Toad's favorite expressions in the Frog and Toad stories by Arnold Lobel. It perfectly describes my emotions today, as after twenty-two years of teaching, I clean out my desk and pack my personal possessions. I am preparing to walk away from my beloved classroom for the very last time.
And of course there is the ever present, long goodbye of my mother's Alzheimer's disease; a major life transition that has stretched into a seven-year-and-counting journey. Most of us who become caregivers for a loved one experience a major life transition that has to do with changing relationship roles. It is heartbreaking to give up the support a loved one provided in the past while simultaneously dealing with an increased workload. And then there is a shock when we realize that not only have our loved ones stopped providing us with love and support, they now need US to support THEM.
All together now...BLEH!!
However, I think the Lord has been trying to get a message through to my addled, bleh-focused brain today. Two unmistakable Holy Spirit nudges have led me to a tentative little thread of hope that even if all I've known is going to change, the future might hold something even better.
The first nudge came this morning when I read an article stating that people tend to underestimate their net worth, because they forget to include their own potential earning power. They look only at what they have saved, and forget to take into account what they might be able to accomplish in the future. In other words, they look at where they've been and not at where they might be able to go. The thought occurs that maybe I've undervalued myself. I know that for some incomprehensible reason the Lord values me...
Then, as I was packing a stack of personally owned children's books into a storage container, I came across the book The Ox Cart Man, by Donald Hall. This is the story of a New Hampshire farmer who lived in the eighteenth century. The oxcart man packs the fruit of his year's labors, including crops he has raised, wool from his sheep, a shawl his wife made, birch brooms carved by his son, and feathers from his geese. He travels to a nearby town and sells his possessions one by one, finally selling even his cart and his ox. The reader is made to understand that all this is not an easy task. The farmer even appears to feel a bit of a wrench at leaving his beloved ox; he kisses the ox on the nose by way of saying goodbye! He then returns home with coins in his pocket and with his only potential for future gain lying in his own strength and wits, he begins another year of fruitful labor.
Well, I don't have much strength and my wits are pretty much addled, but the Lord loves me and has promised me a future and a hope. Right now I am allowing this promise to kindle a small spark of anticipation for what the future may hold. Perhaps my "bleh" will transition into a resounding "Yippee!" at some point in the future.
My future doesn't depend on me, but upon the Lord, and therein lies my hope.
Scripture: "Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father." (Galatians 4:6).
"Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as his own children because God sent the Spirit of his Son into our lives crying out, "Papa! Father!" Doesn't that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you're also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance" (Galatians 4:6, The Message).