Friday, April 26, 2013
This Too, Shall Pass - On the Move
Sometimes we make plans and hang our hopes on an unforeseen future - one we're committed to. One we're sure will, well ... go to plan.
Life doesn't usually dole out the expected, though. Or maybe it does, but not when we expect it to or in the exact way we thought it would. Plans that were written down get scratched out, revised, or completely torn-up. Destroyed.
You start again.
We have choices to make when we get a life-sized side swipe. Choices about how we're going to handle and respond to our dreams not quite unraveling the way we wanted them to. We can choose to stand in the middle of what's been lost and shrink down or stand-up. Neither is easy and I actually think there's a time for both.
There have been significant unexpected changes in my family. The changes mean that my daughter and I will no longer live in Myanmar after May when her school finishes. She and I will move back to the United States without her dad.
Family will get defined in a new way. There will be new labels: single mom; single; divorced/separated. Old labels will dwindle slowly and with difficulty: wife; family; expat. Plans of staying in Myanmar for at least a few more years: scratched out. New plans have to be made. It sometimes feels scary.
There is a grieving that floods you when a hope, a plan, a dream is interrupted. Those feelings are real and they're OK.
Sometimes we edge our way to the side, find a little bit of raised ground - hope - to stand on, giving us the protection of a wider view, showing us what's going on.
If we can find that raised ground - perhaps even a fence - and look on both sides, we're able to straddle the realities of what is before us and what is to come. We can lovingly, gently, hold our grief in one hand while in the other, bless the future: the gifts of lessons learned, of growth, of moving forward. In silence, in solitude, we can listen to our hearts and hear the message it's trying to tell us:
It's going to be OK.
It's going to be OK.
It's going to be OK.
Because it will be OK. Maybe not in ten minutes. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe it will take longer than thought. It doesn't matter. There's no time limit, no scale to measure loss of any kind. It's a personal journey. We'll have moments of shrinking, then standing up.
I find the safest place on that raised bit of ground where I can look at both sides, with honesty. There's a reverence that can be offered to what is being grieved. You say thank you (even if it hurts). You see all of it, clearly (as clear as you can now), and bless it. You bless - equally - the hurts and the beauty of your memories ... and what you had hoped would become memories. That's where I find strength.
It's a time for letting go.
It doesn't mean I know what's going to happen on the future side of the fence, as uncomfortable as that is. Yet looking over there, I can see something new. I see solid ground, a sense of calm, and being at peace. It's on the future side that you give in to some element of faith - a faith within - that you are strong and that you'll figure it out. Not only will you figure it out, you'll thrive.
This new journey will lead my daughter and I back to home, to family, to friends. There's joy in that. Equally, there's joy in the beautiful friendships we've made in Yangon. Lots of to be grateful for. There is sadness, too.
It's important for me to be honest as we go through this new phase. It's a transition and life is full of them. I'll write about that sometimes. I suspect I'll write about being single-mum writer. Other stuff will come up, too.
Thanks for reading.
Thanks for being part of this hello/good-bye with me.
P.S. I have posted a similar version of this over here on Becky in Burma because I think that while Becky Cavender offers a new beginning, Becky in Burma will still be part of that journey, part of saying good-bye. Writing about the good-bye on Becky in Burma and the new beginning here will help me make some sense of the messiness that goes on with transitions.