Transition is curious.
Last month I flew to Calgary for work. As the plane descended, the dried-brown landscape registered a sharp contrast to emerald BC of one hour prior. Driving around the unfamiliar city left me with a sense that the signs could be changed and I would not know the city I had just dropped into. I felt disoriented.
This week we drove to Calgary (and beyond). We wove around mountain curves absorbing vistas and glorying in majestic peaks. Construction west of the city provided ample time to survey the now-green rolling hills as we travelled 18 kilometers in 45 minutes. Signs alerted us to multiple exits as we approached the much-anticipated city greened by recent luxurious rains.
I’ve been pondering the similarities this experience shares with other life transitions. There is simply no straight line through change.
When a change is thrust upon us unexpectedly we can reel from the shift required to adapt, seeking solid footing on the ground that seems suddenly unstable. Our blood pressure may soar, adrenalin rush, and energy surge and crash. It’s a wild ride that many find frightening.
But not everyone.
The charge of excitement arising from unexpected twists and turns works for some. In fact, a predictable, routine life feels dull.
Not all transitions come out of the blue. How about those “road trip” experiences in life where you anticipate the change for days, months, even years? These provide opportunity to mentally and emotionally prepare as plans are put into place and details considered. There is a calm, predictable nature to these transitions as you soak in sites along the route.
But let’s be clear. It takes ten hours to drive to Calgary. And while all the advance planning can be in place, if there are paving crews or accidents or inclement weather, the trip length increases. And even without delays, a body feels cramped en route and longs for the destination. Sometimes the joy in the journey is lost because it takes so long to arrive.
And isn’t that the point? To enjoy the road, the scenery, the rest stops, the conversation, the Creedence Clearwater Revival cranked while prairie fields roll by? I sure hope so because it’s also a long drive home.
With love and gratitude,
In The Midst