Transition: The experience of the gradual, physiological reorientation process that happens inside us as we respond and adapt to the external change. Transition often results from a change, but it may also be triggered by the news that a change is imminent and, so, start before the change actually takes place. (William Bridges)
Last week we spent an entire morning talking about transition. We visualized the transition to a new country/ministry/location/people group as a bridge with five different stages:
- Newly Settled
On our own papers, we wrote both our positive and negative feelings and word associations with each stage, then circled the one word (either positive or negative) that most describes our feeling in that stage. The instructor asked six people to share with the class their words along the entire Transition Bridge, with positive words above the bridge road-bed and negative words below (these are charted below in 6 different colors). Then the rest of the class chimed in to build a "word cloud" (these are written at an angle).
I loved that we were allowed to speak in paradox, and we did not have to follow up a negative feeling or word with "Yes, but remember God's promises" or "It'll be OK." Because no matter how many times you've done a major transition, or if you're navigating it with a family or supportive team, or if it's to a similar culture, transition is still hard. And it is normal to feel either positive or negatively--or both at the same time.
And if you want to know what I'm feeling in this transition, follow the purple letters across.