Transitions: The Significance of Marking Time

Last week my just-turned-six year old gave her teacher a hug, gathered into her arms her piles of construction paper art projects, and walked out of her school for the last time as a kindergartener.  As I walked alongside of her down the hallway, herding her younger siblings through the throngs of frenetic grade school students, I felt tears stinging my eyes. 

I laughed at myself, recognizing I was maybe being a tad too sentimental.  But this moment felt significant to me: the transition from half-days filled with coloring and learning-through-play to full days and homework and, well, growing up, is no small thing.  I found myself wishing there had been something more tangible to mark this shift.  

I recently transitioned from working in campus ministry to staying home with the kids (and focusing on speaking).  As my days at work were winding down, someone asked me how I would mark this ending and new beginning.  I didn't have an answer, other than filling my van with the boxes of books that had lined my office shelves.

Our lives are a series of moments that gather together to tell a story.  Some of these moments are fleeting and soon forgotten (although remind me to write about paying attention to these little moments in a later post).  Other moments are life-changing: A wedding. A divorce. The birth of a child.  The death of a loved one. 

But then there are those in-between moments.  The ones that significantly shape our story, but happen without much fanfare.  How do we mark those moments?  How do we slow down and acknowledge their meaning?

I am reminded of the times in scripture when the Israelites built an altar to remember what God had done for them.  With sweat dripping from their foreheads and blisters forming on their hands, they piled stones as a physical sign that God had met them in that place.  Maybe transitions are opportunities for us to recognize God's work in our lives, too. 

Perhaps our transitions--and the moments that shape our stories--need piles of rocks.  Reminders that something significant just happened.  A sign that who we are today isn't quite the same as the person we were yesterday.  

As I continue to transition into a new rhythm, I hope you'll journey with me through this blog.  It might just become a pile of stones for me (and maybe for you, too) as I seek to reflect on how God is working in the ordinary and not so ordinary moments of my life.