May is the time of graduations and weddings, new blossoms and renewed commitments. As each day passes, our excitement grows. Something new is coming! And that jubilee is especially strong among children. We remember why.
Each May marked change when we were young. We ran out of the classroom with report cards held high in the air, feeling free to begin the adventure of summer — pursuing cannonballs and slur-pees — and a greater level of education the next year. As far as we were concerned, the world was for our taking when that last bell rang.
But as we age, those transition points are less predictable. We never know when that new job is going to come along, or when that baby is going to be born. We pledge to make changes at the New Year, or on our birthday, or when the weather warms, because we have no other way of controlling when our next adventure begins and when we can say good-bye to the disappointments and hardships of years past.
We’re taken aback when change occurs — when a friend dies, or a diagnosis is given. It feels intrusive. Unplanned. Unpredictable. Aggressive. It’s even more hurtful when our schedules are packed to the brim, and one of these changes call us to pull the “all stop” chord on our lives. We question why life would throw a brick wall at us, forcing us to call one season of life “past” and another season “now.”
We don’t know how to function apart from constant, continual motion forward.
But everything we know from every world religion and every scientific study of human brain development tells us that we need moments of rest. We need prayer and reflection, white space in our calendars and regular breaks. We need time to think about what’s coming and how we’ll need to adapt. We need a period of time that’s undefined. In short, we need transitions — regular summer vacations that breathe life into our bones.
For most, summer is construction season instead of a season to embrace joy. We are over responsible and under reflective, and we wonder why we just can’t seem to feel like we can call anything “finished.”
We need transition in order to have joy. We need to know when one period of our life is ending so that we can prepare and accept the next period of time that lies ahead. We need celebration and gratitude, acceptance and thankfulness of where we’re at, and anticipation of the days ahead. That pattern — nay, that dance, look back, look down, look forward — is the dance that produces life.
Embrace the transition seasons in your life. They are the oxygen your lungs breathe from months from now.