I have this picture in my head today of me in a tiny rowboat on a vast ocean. I know I've talked about boats a lot through our transition, but it's fitting - we are on a journey. So back to my rowboat - imagine me in a tiny rowboat, riding the waves, and as I look around I see nothing recognizable in any direction. In fact, forget the boat - it's actually more like a raft, Castaway style. Except unlike Tom Hanks I have not, at any point of this move, made a disemboweled volleyball my best friend and confidante. I am, thankfully, still far from that. Praise be to God.
I think we generally try to move toward life in a swimming pool. We want something manageable, something with defined edges, something with a dimension that doesn't wear us out. The walls of the pool are the roles and relationships we form that give boundaries to who we are. We can stretch out on an inner tube and enjoy.
Any kind of transition - getting married, becoming a parent, changing jobs, kids leaving home, moving across town - will affect the roles and relationships we have. They stretch our boundaries - maybe to an Olympic size pool, maybe a lake, maybe the whole big ocean. We have to learn to renavigate, to manage this different shape. We need to find those places where we can rest, to become familiar with the edges again.
And so there's me, imagining the ocean around me with no land in sight. I long for the edges, the boundaries, the things that make me go, "Oh right, this is where I am, where I belong, who I am, what I'm capable of." My temptation is to look around, paddle frantically, screaming, "WILSON!!" I find myself looking to others to tell me "here's land." I seek affirmation, acknowledgement, value, to make me feel solid again.
But the fact is, those things we think give us definition are ultimately not what define us at all. They are merely temporary boundaries, these roles and relationships God gives us for seasons. What we need, what I need, to remember, is that regardless of the size of my current situation, my identity comes from Him. He is the anchor who tells me, "I know you. I see you. You are mine. That is all you need."
And in this, transition is a gift. It's an opportunity to have all that I might depend on be stripped away, and to be called back (more frequently than I usually need) to who I am in Him. The truth of who I am in Him is a constant, grounding me regardless of the depth of water or the distance from land.