I can snap PHOTOS of beloved mementos, and keepsakes (snap photos of family photos in frames, for example!) as I pack lifelong bulky treasures away into boxes, for storage that will go on for future months or years. These photos I can keep with me, on my phone or computer.
It’s a little way of easing the processes of transition. Another little thing I’m doing to manage my stress level right now as we get ready to move continents is I’ve written a few of my many favorite Names of God, found in the Bible, out in marker on colored slips of paper and have taped them all over the apartment, in places where I spend time. Above the kitchen sink. Beside my “desk” table. In the living room. “Inspirer”. “Healer”. “Nourisher”. “Faithful”. “Slow-to-Anger”. “Peace”. “God-with-me (Emanuel)” .When my eyes fall on these little labels my mind and emotions are led into worship, thanksgiving and prayer, for a few seconds each time. “Kind”. “Defender”. Ass I move around in the apartment sorting, cleaning and packing, I breathe, and I say thank you. “Queller-of-storms”. “Desire”. “Satisfier”.
I know that MANY PEOPLE face MUCH transition in modern-day life in our world, for a huge variety of different reasons. There are “transitions” on many different levels. It’s not just moving house, it’s not just traveling, and it’s not just me. I hope these two little ideas help somebody else to deal with transition in their life, today, with less stress, the way the little ideas and practices are helping me. We’re companioning each other in this day, which also reduces stress…
” I’m sitting down at the picnic table in the backyard – the sun is late afternoon – filtering down on me through the leaves of the mango trees above my head. The birds are having a symphony above me, twittering and singing and chirping at the top of their voices.
Rusty (the kitty, now with two kittens) has followed me down here and is in the process of rubbing her fur against my pen – which doesn’t work too well when your’e(sic) trying to write!
It is SO beautiful down here, quiet, filled with God. That is something I really miss in Kinshasa; Kinshasa with the trucks ROARING past the hostel, literally shaking it, the horns honking, people yelling, and loneliness. In the midst of over a million people, loneliness.
I don’t think I ever feel lonely here, really, and yet I am alone so much of the time. Probably because I’m right in the middle of my family here.
Back to some sharing from an old notebook when I was 16 years old and “expatriate teen in West Africa” was “who I was”.
Abut this picture: The bottom book is my baby book, kept by Mom until recently, and, the top “book”, a humble old green graph paper only “cahier” I remember Mom giving me, from her notebook stash, when I went to her and asked her if she had an old notebook that I could write in.
FROM MY EARLIEST JOURNALS, WHEN I WAS SIXTEEN:
June 20, 1973. (I was home in Cameroun, from the Congo, on summer vacation)”Last night I told Mom all about S. (a boy I had a crush on, at school in the Congo) and it was an unexpected relief to get it all out to someone who would be able to view it from an objective viewpoint. What can I do except wait and pray? – But that is about the hardest thing TO do. Somehow, God is going to work it out, the very best way. (this boy never did end up “liking me” at all, in the next couple years or at any time)
I never thought I’d REALLY miss TASOK for the three months of summer vacation, but I am. It is so great to have so many beautiful people (note, now, from myself – “beautiful people” is a phrase we kids at TASOK tended to use a lot, in the seventies !) , friends, around you all the time.
Anytime you want to, almost, you can go talk to somebody, or goof off and act like a spazz, or just go and be quiet and listen to music or something.
It has bothered me some that I didn’t want to come home worse than I did, and now that I am home I miss it at TASOK – it is like MPH (my boarding hostel) and TASOK (my school – The American School of Kinshasa) have become a real home to me.
But, that’s natural when you grow up – you always grow apart from “home”. You make your own life, and, when your(sic)going to a boarding school or something, often it’s COMPLETELY your own. In other words, you are what you make yourself when you’re at a place like TASOK with no brothers and sisters.
Then you come home, full of independence and pride in yourself, convinced that you’ve changed for the better an awful lot, that you’ll be pretty cool at home now. But when you’re home you suddenly realize you’re not so cool after all but regarded just the same by your parents pretty much and by your brothers and sisters and all the other people on the station and – your balloon deflates! You’re fighting with your sister and taking the head off your little brother and lazing around doing nothing and making no use of yourself at all!
Oh well, I guess that’s just part of coming home! “
“That mention of Feuerbach and joy reminded me of something I saw early one morning a few years ago, as I was walking up to the church. There was a young couple strolling along half a block ahead of me. The sun had come up brilliantly after a heavy rain, and the trees were glistening and very wet. On some impulse, plain exuberance, I suppose, the fellow jumped up and caught hold of a branch, and a storm of luminous water came pouring down on the two of them, and they laughed and took off running, the girl sweeping water off her hair and her dress as if she were a bit disgusted, but she wasn’t. It was a beautiful thing to see, like something from a myth. I don’t know why I thought of that now, except perhaps because it is easy to believe in such moments that water is made primarily for blessing, and only secondarily for growing vegetables or doing the wash. I wish I had paid more attention to it. My list of regrets may seem unusual, but who can know that they are, really. This is an interesting planet. It deserves all the attention you can give it.” – Gilead, 10 % on Kindle