In just over a week, our son will begin kindergarten. How can this be when he was just born yesterday? He has been in pre-school, so the transition to kindergarten will not be a shock to any of us, but it does mean a new school, new teachers, meeting new children who will (and won’t) become his friends, and letting go of what was known in his old school. He won’t see Scotty, Charlotte, or Joey anymore, and for a five year old there is some sadness that comes with that. My daily prayer is that he listens to his teachers (better than at home!), makes some good friends, and is anything other than the “mean kid” in his class.
Many of us are going through changes at this time of year. It can be parents who are sending little ones off to school for the first time. Some are getting older children ready for middle school or high school, with all of the anxiety and excitement that comes with that. Some parents will soon be loading up their cars and traveling with young adults beginning college, making one more trip to Target and/or the campus bookstore to make sure they’ve done all they can to help their son and daughter with a major transition. They might be new “empty nesters,” having to adjust to the reality of not seeing their children and being in a quieter home. In all of these situations, we do what we can but have to let go, knowing that once the children are on the bus, dropped off, or we drive away from campus, we have to let go and entrust them to God’s loving care.
For others, transitions can happen when one retires, and beyond trying to figure out what to do with extra time, a sense of identity can be lost when we don’t have a career anymore. Transitions come when a loved one’s (or our own) health deteriorates, and we know that things won’t ever be the same again. Of course, when a spouse, child, or loved one dies, we face those transitions too, often with grief, anger and confusion, and fear of not knowing what will come next. On a national level, we are wrestling with how to welcome those who come to our borders: transitioning from the often harsh realities of violence and corruption in their home countries; looking for a new start with their families.
A priest I know well told me many times that “God is faithful…God is faithful…God is faithful.” He told me that as we were waiting for our son to be born, going through the adoption process, not knowing exactly how it would all work out. It can be a helpful reminder for us, a simple truth that we can hold on to. It’s also a call to be faithful, to God and to each other. We know “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8), and so we can be faithful in our call to love our neighbors through all of life’s transitions, large and small.