My heart hurts. There’s a gnawing ache in the pit of my stomach. Life is in transition, and it is riddled with emotion.
You pour yourself into something – or many somethings – for weeks, months, or even years, and then you hand it off to someone else. Someone whose background, experience, and vision is probably different than your own, but that matters little. Or perhaps it matters most. The things they bring might be what is necessary to push the effort farther down the field, but it does not make it easier to let go.
Letting go feels like a sudden gaping hole where purpose used to be. If there’s a strange limbo in the transition and you aren’t immediately off to the next thing, there’s the potential to stare at the wall, wondering what do I do now? The emptiness is overwhelming, and it is unexpected. Depending on the type of transition, you might assume that there’d be simply relief and happiness in the changeover, only to be knocked sideways by emotions that are something else entirely.
I am deployed. I have been counting down the days until I see my family again, so to feel this profound melancholy has caught me off guard. I feel guilty for feeling sad; shouldn’t I be overjoyed that I am almost home? How can there possibly be any room for negative emotions when I am so close to hugging my daughter again, sleeping in my bed, taking an actual shower, and wearing clothes that are not the same ones I’ve lived in for the last several months?
There is room because God created humanity to be wondrously complex, and there is plenty of room for the full range of emotions – to be felt individually, all at once, or something in between. There is room because we care about the things we do, the efforts we involve ourselves in, the dreams we bring to life, and the people we interact with along the way. There is room because we aren’t robots, unfeeling and moving from one task to another. There’s room because what we did mattered. We mattered. It all mattered.
We still matter, and we matter in the change. If, like me, you’re in some weird life transition, and you’re riding a bizarre rollercoaster of emotions, I just want you to know that you’re normal and not alone. Heck, I’ve saved you a seat – we’ll ride this crazy thing together, and eventually things will even out. We’ll put one foot in front of the other, we’ll embrace the purpose we find in the next step, and we’ll eventually discover joy growing where that sad emptiness currently resides.
Here’s to life in transition, friends, and all the things we deeply feel along the way.