November 16 2010

Forget about what’s happened; don’t keep going over old history. Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? Isaiah 43:19 (The Message)

The word transition is defined as a process or period of change in which something undergoes a change and passes from one state, or stage, form, or activity to another. Also, it is a word, phrase, or passage that links one subject or idea to another in speech or writing. I sense that most people hate change so much that they choose to stay where they are and refuse to budge. Interestingly, these people will inadvertently still go through a change, but they bring unnecessary pain and conflict on themselves because they fight the process. A few examples of transitions are words, labor, job changes and a butterfly.

Writing is an outlet that brings me great joy. Learning how to do it correctly intensifies that. My college professor has been explaining the correct steps in writing, because if we do not write properly, readers will not be able to understand us. Isn’t the purpose of writing to be understood? Lately he has been explaining transitions which are certain words that join other words. You take two complete thoughts and join them with a transition which is the exact same concept as you would on a freeway. You transition from one freeway to another. When we join words incorrectly you create a mess and your words do not flow. It reminds me of the old traffic nightmare at the 60 and 91 freeways in Riverside. I believe that whoever designed that chaos started the whole “Road Rage” phenomenon! Transitions in life are inevitable, some good and some bad, but how we maneuver through them is what makes us strong and equips us to go on.

Women go through three stages of labor before giving birth. The second stage is called “Transitional Phase.” It is called the transition period because it marks the shift to the second stage of labor. This is the most intense part. Contractions are usually very strong, coming every two and a half to three minutes or so and lasting a minute or more. This is the last phase where the baby is pushed through the birth canal.  Though painful, it is a process of change and is necessary for the outcome of that new baby. Ask a woman immediately after birth if she wants another baby, and her answer may be NO! Ask in a few weeks or months and the answer will be different!

An employment change is another type of transition. When we change jobs, we have a whole new set of rules, ideas, mannerisms, etc. to learn at the new place of employment.  New relationships will be cultivated along with new procedures learned.  It is a type of transition where are passing from one place to the next. It is never easy to change jobs. Personally, I think it is exhausting. When you have to be trained in new procedures after being so comfortable in the prior ones, you become drained. You may find yourself wishing you had stayed at the last place even if the change needed to take place. We like comfort and the same old routine. Have you ever changed jobs, but found yourself driving to the old place by habit?

The most awesome story of transition is that of the butterfly. A metamorphosis takes place when a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. The cycle of a butterfly begins with an egg that becomes a furry caterpillar. That caterpillar crawls around in the dirt and eventually produces silk to create a cocoon. Once in the cocoon, the caterpillar becomes a liquid and something new is formed: a butterfly that can fly!  When the butterfly is trying to break free of the cocoon a mighty struggle takes place. The struggle is necessary for the butterfly to gain strength so that it can fly. When it finally sheds the cocoon, the butterfly spreads its wings and is able to fly. What I want you to catch is that the struggle is necessary for growth.

A story is told of a man who watched a caterpillar trying to break free and thought he would help it out. As a butterfly tries to rid itself of the cocoon, a small tear begins, and in his struggle continues to make that tear larger. The butterfly works and thrashes about at breaking free and is eventually able to do away with the remnants of the cocoon. Again, it is necessary to build strength in the butterfly to equip it to fly. This man in his desire to help, very carefully cut the opening a little larger to make it easier for the butterfly to rid itself of the cocoon. Although thinking he was helping, he inadvertently crippled that butterfly because it was never able to fly.

Try something with me. Take your right hand and make a fist. With your left hand open it wide and pound your fist into your left palm and close your left hand around your fist. Then turn your fisted hand around while you hold tightly with your left hand. Do you feel the struggle? Also, feel the tension and resistance? It is only natural for us to want to help someone and especially our children, but there are circumstances that they must experience in life. The “Queen of Bailout” herself, can finally admit we do more damage trying to bail them out.

This little demonstration is exactly where I am in life. I am struggling through changes. Although, my personality type loves new things and new adventures, I do cling to my old comforts. And the older I become the more apt I am to grip tighter.  My fear sets in, then self doubt, anxiousness runs rampant and I am back on the roller coaster of insecurity! But no more because I see light as the tear of my cocoon is getting larger as this butterfly is breaking free. I am seeing progress as I am so ready to fly! I am finished crawling as a caterpillar in the dirt. God is doing a new thing in me! YIPPEE!