I don’t transition well.
For instance, if I have a set plan in my mind, and someone walks in and announces that because of this or of that, such said plan is not possible, everything inside of me shuts down. Not forever. But long enough to be visible. Long enough to allow disappointment and letdown to creep in and get the best of me.
I am trying hard to learn to roll with it. After all, it is what I try to teach to my children. Do not dwell on it. God will pull out the good. Trust in His plan.
School starts up here in Newtown again real soon. For the first time, my husband and I will be sending one of our four off to college. My lunch-packing duty will decrease by one. There will be new teachers and classes to get used to for everyone, new routines, and for certain, new problems to solve. I am not looking forward to any of it. I would like to stay right here, in August. With everyone home. With the pool cover off. With no lunches to pack. With no summer reading we have yet to do. With bare feet and wet towels. With homework free evenings that are spent lingering on the front porch with the long conversations, the bottles of wine, the loud frogs, the daughter and friend, that without fail, appear to show us their new dance, which is always ridiculous, but we never tire of seeing, of applauding.
Because here is the thing. I know what to expect from August. For the most part. I do live among three teenagers and a fast-growing tween, so the day to day is not always predictable. But September? With the return of early bus schedules, new emerging hormones (for both the kids and myself), school, and fall sports that this town treats like religion, and the whole back to the grind? Not looking forward to any of it. In fact, dare I say . . . I dread it.
Except when I look at their faces.
My kids. Their faces. They tell a much different story. A better one.
They may not want to go back to school, but they do find a way to seek out the excitement, the joy of the new, the thrill of the “I wonder how it will be.” The new teacher, the new backpack, the new grade level, the new position on the team, the new hair cut, the new friends to be made, the new freedom. It is as if they have this special storing of trust and hope, wonder and excitement, that as an adult, who has learned to fear the unexpected, and focus on the “what if,” has lost somewhere along the way — somewhere between my will and God’s, my plan and His.
And I would like to retrace my steps, and go back and find that hope. Go back and find that trust. Wake up and see this pending transition as an exciting adventure, not a “what if” but more like a “what will.” What will God show us this year? What will God do for us today? What will we do to show the glory of God to another? What will I do to grow one step closer to Christ today? Because “what if” assumes looming tragedy. But “what will” points to joyful expectancy. And that is so much better, don’t you think?
I would like to approach this new school year with the eyes of my children. Because my children understand all too well that what this year, month, week, day holds, remains a mystery. My children understand all too well that what they hope for in today can turn on a dime. Yet somehow, they have learned to roll with it. Some much better than others. But still. They get up. They go to work. They go to camp. They get on yellow buses. They walk into classrooms. They carry pencils and notebooks alongside trust and hope. They are the bravest souls I know.
My little ones, who had no problem packing their bags, waving goodbye and spending a week away from home at camp, have joyfully returned, ready to tackle life’s next adventure. With just a couple of weeks of summer left here, I plan on soaking up every last bit of the lazy and slow, the late-night lingering. At least that is my plan. But who really knows? Only God knows the plan. And only God orchestrates our transitions. It is not my job to follow my way, it is my job to follow His.
And so this is my back-to-school prayer. I pray that I see God’s glory in every moment. That I choose wonder over dread, fearless over fearful, “what will” over “what if.” I pray that I see the new year with the eyes of my children. And I pray that I can locate that bag of hope and trust I dropped somewhere along the way, grab it by the handles, pick it up strong, and roll with it.
Copyright 2017 Laura Mary Phelps