Sunday, April 13, 2014

Made it to the finish

I did it. After three months of training I completed my first 5k yesterday. Truth be told, I expected it to be really emotional at the finish. But it all felt pretty normal. It was like running is just a new thing I do- all perfectly ordinary.

It’s interesting how you wait for a moment to arrive, usually with a certain degree of anxiety and eager anticipation. Then it comes and goes and is no more. It’s over just like that. With that said I think I’ll keep this post as short and simple as the experience and just show the highlights.
Until the next challenge…  



Thursday, April 3, 2014

The antidote to grief

It’s that time of year again. Spring is the season of transition for lots of people. My seniors are starting to schedule with me again, in full on freak out mode because of their upcoming college graduation. They’re worried about passing all their classes, completing all their assignments, and successfully walking across the proverbial stage. The real anxiety, however, lies in the bigger life questions of, Am I ready to be a grownup, leave my comfort zone, and manage whatever life throws my way? Transitions, of course, are exciting. They’re a normal part of life. At the same time, they can often evoke feelings of grief and loss. What I’ve known is no more and I have to embrace something new.

In an interesting parallel process, I’ve found myself in transition right along with my students. No, I’m not graduating, thank God. That season is over! But I am in transition in my relationships. In the first quarter of this year, one friend joyfully discovered she was pregnant, and two other friends got engaged. They’ll both be getting married in a few weeks. Naturally, those are amazing milestones and I’m genuinely thrilled. These women are great people and their happy endings have been a long time coming. They deserve to finally have their longings fulfilled. I’d be lying though if I said I wasn’t hurt by all the sudden changes. These were regulars at my girls night a.k.a. group therapy. Just a few short months ago we were all foot loose and fancy free. Now…well…everything is different and I’m in the position of having to adapt.

How have I coped with change you might ask? After all, I’m your informed friend and your resident counselor and advice giver. Honestly, I cycled between three main responses: 1) Bitterly raging against change and throwing internal tantrums that could rival any three year olds, 2) Crying like a baby…like legit guttural sobs, snot running…the straight up ugly cry, and 3) Going after the things that give me joy and life…you know, just improving my overall awesomeness. Needless to say, it’s been an emotionally exhausting few months.

What I realized and am realizing through this process is that life transitions, terminations, endings, goodbyes, they all trigger our existential fear that we’re ultimately going to be alone. We mourn what once was, knowing that we’ll never get it back. Even if we do get it back, it might not look the same way. Sure, my friends aren’t dying. They might move on and move away, but that doesn’t mean I cease to exist in their lives and their hearts. It just means we’re entering a new phase of the relationship. And who’s to say that if awesome things are happening in their lives, that there isn’t something equally awesome around the corner for me.

So, here’s what I see as the antidote to grief- embracing what God is doing right now. He is in the business of creating and doing new things. Once the old way has passed, it is no more. There’s something new in store. That’s not the say you don’t take a moment to be nostalgic, shed a tear, or miss what you had. You just don’t want to get so stuck “memorializing the past,” as I once heard a speaker say, and miss out on the joy of what’s to come.