The Difficulty of Living in the Moment

by mendibpng

This week has flown by, with multiple things taking our attention: our son Josiah is in the high school play, the translation office solar system had a huge problem, the airstrip was closed due to the grass not being cut, and we are simultaneously packing for a village stay plus taking care of furlough details for June. On top of that, all of us are in some stage of transition…and some of us are feeling it more than others.

It turns out sleeping can be difficult with so many thoughts and ideas racing around my head. I’ve experienced the ‘stiff upper lip’ (keep going) stage, the meltdown stage, and now the numb stage where there’s still quite a few things to do but a lot of the urgent stuff is done. I sent several pieces of cargo off to our aviation department, and I have my lists of the few things that need to be packed up Sunday night or Monday morning, like toothbrushes and beloved blankies/stuffed animals. I personally struggle with coping with transition a lot more in recent months than I ever have before in my life…I suspect this has to do with being at the end of a long field term and feeling stretched in so many ways, or maybe I’m just getting old?! At any rate, I’m just feeling weary and moving my family towards a big transition is not My Favorite Thing.

The great thing about walking through a rough week is that the blessings end up being very meaningful.

1 A colleague in the U.S. literally spent hours (often in the wee hours of the morning for him while it’s daytime here!) talking with Ben about the solar system crisis. Others here on the ground have also given him input.

2. Noah and Ellie independently created their own costumes for the Annual Book Parade at their school with no help from me or their daddy (We would have helped if they wanted it, but they wanted to do it themselves.) We just showed up and took pictures! They also packed their own clothes and backpacks, as well as helping the twins with theirs.

3. We had four evenings out to see our Josiah’s performance in ‘The Importance of Being Earnest.’ We never tired of seeing him and his brilliant co-actors in the play!
algie 1

4. We learned this week that we have furlough housing as soon as we land in Wheaton in July. This means that we won’t have to find a temporary place to live first: a huge blessing for a family of seven about to face a huge transition. On top of that, we have a furlough car booked as well!

5. We added a wall and a couple of doors to our covered driveway, making space for our bikes and other bulky things, which were making it impossible for us to walk through our storage room. Now that the big stuff is out of the way, it’s going to be so much easier to organize everything when we pack up before leaving for a year! Last Saturday Ben and the kids painted it, and it makes us both really happy to see it completed every time we walk by it.

6. One of our children who struggled in a subject area received 100% on a test. The grade itself is inconsequential to me, but the fact that the emotional stress of that subject has reduced is a big blessing. The exceptional teachers teachers and administrators at our school here take great care in their jobs, a fact which is often highlighted by stories our kids tell us when they get home each day.

7. Ben found out on Thursday that they cut the grass on the airstrip for the first time in many months, making it possible for our team to land there (we have many flights going in and out during our village stay!) We have encountered this issue a great many times over the last 12 years, and this is nothing short of miracle!

8. We have five days in our regional town of Wewak as a family to relax a little bit before our translators and their wives arrive. (They are coming to Wewak for our first-ever spiritual retreat!)

9. A friend on home leave wrote me recently with good news. I’m rejoicing with her from afar!

10. My five kids remind me to stay ‘in the moment’…once in a while, I’m on the verge of a meltdown when one of them makes me laugh…just look at this face!
jacob

11. I couldn’t resist adding this last one in: this is the view we had flying over the Aiyura Valley yesterday. The thick clouds looked like huge snow drifts, with the mountains peeking up over the top of them! I find that noticing beauty in God’s creation is a huge help in times of transition.
highlands

I’ll end with a quote from my favorite transitions writer, William Bridges
“It is ironic to realize that one of the gifts I have received from getting old is the ability to be in the moment. I’ve been trying to learn to do that for the past thirty-five years, but it has been only with the natural slowing down of my mind with the losses I’ve been through that I am starting to find the present moment sufficient in itself. Loss has given me that gift, not by “teaching” me that moments are limited and precious. (That would be learning it the conceptual way.) And the writers I used to read, who urged the same shift in awareness, couldn’t “teach” me that either. It is something that came only with time and with the natural sorting process that goes on after loss. As the mud swirls around in the watery pan, the gold-flakes settle of their own weight. Time doesn’t fly–it swirls, and the moments settle from their own gravity. Without serious loss, the water isn’t agitated enough for that to happen.” (The Way of Transition, p. 206)

I haven’t arrived yet at the same level of contentment that Bridges talks about, but I feel myself moving more and more towards this awareness. I love the metaphor he uses of the gold-flakes swirling about. That’s exactly where I’m at with finding joy in the small and big things this week.

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2 Comments to “The Difficulty of Living in the Moment”

  1. Debbie and I are feeling the stress from transition, too. In our case, it’s not leaving the field, but leaving home. Debbie in particular will be missing our boys. We’ll be empty-nesters for the first time in a few months. For my part, I have great difficulty “living in the moment.” It’s a learned skill for me, not one that comes naturally. And I’m significantly older and than Bridges was!

    • Yes, transitions are really hard, but the first one is HUGE. We are praying comfort and peace for you guys as you prepare and say ‘goodbye.’

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