With one hand I hold tightly to my husband, in desperate need of his support, and with the other I push him away. It’s confusing and frustrating, but this is how the young and scared part of me struggles for control and acts out in fear. My mature and wise adult self knows better. I have come too far to be here again, and yet this is the place I find myself. When I try to figure out how I got to this place again, I am reminded of the major transitions we are navigating. Transitions are hard and scary and can trigger old patterns and ways of being in the world.
As our oldest son returns after graduating from college and rests for a moment under our roof in search of the next open door, I feel confused and uncertain of what he needs from me and walk a tightrope of hope and fear. As my second son transitions away to his first year of college, I struggle to let go and wrestle with fear and the grief of losing his presence which is larger than life. As my two teenaged girls push me away in their search for independence, I struggle to know where to stand. So much of the stress is hidden below the surface as we celebrate the accomplishments of our children and cheer them on as they spread their wings. From the outside looking in, everything looks awesome, but inside I feel terrified and uncertain of what my role is.
Being a mom to adult and growing children is hard. I loved the comfort of their little hands in mine and the illusion of control I had as I strapped them in the stroller and planned their days in the outfits I chose for them. Although children never stop needing their parents, I am finding a deep reservoir of grief as I come toward the end of the road of knowing what they need and how to meet them in the complexity of their growing and changing needs.
I am tired and worn and looking for a place to lay my weary head.
This season of growth and change led us to go out on an outdoor adventure last week.
We met our best friends and joined a guide and a group and loaded up everything we needed to go backpacking and camping in the Manistee National park. Toward the end of our adventure we hit a rough patch. We became separated from the group while waiting for friends who stopped to go to the bathroom. When we came to a fork in the road, thunder began to sound and ominous storm clouds hung low in the sky. We were on the blue trail all the way and suddenly my husband told us to go on the white trail. “I think I saw them go this way” he said with hesitation. My gut said stay on the trail we had been on, which is what the majority ruled and so we strode deeper and deeper into the forest in the midst of a torrential downpour. We finally got a hold of the guide who told us to go back to the fork and take the white trail to the parking lot. Kevin was right and I failed to trust him. Back in the van, feeling like a drenched rat, I looked into his steady brown eyes and apologized for not following him. “You don’t trust me” he said with sorrow and despair. “You are right, and I’m sorry!” As I have unpacked this lack of trust, I realize how deeply embodied it is. There have been times throughout our marriage where my trusting his leadership caused me great pain, but I am aware that it runs deeper than that. I didn’t trust my dad either because his stress caused him to lash out in anger and I never knew what I would get from him. The saddest realization hit when I realized I don’t truly trust God either which is why this transition has been so painful and hard. I believe God is good and faithful but something deep inside feels terrified to let go. With one hand I cling desperately to his word and with the other I bat him away and try to take control.
Repentance looks like surrender. It is pausing in the stillness and orienting back to God’s love. On the exterior things move fast and are always changing, but in the stillness, at the ground of my being, I feel Him holding me and reminding me that I am safe and secure. Transitions are hard and everything in me wants to run ahead and try to pave the way, but what I’m learning is that I need to do less to be more present in this place of truth and grace and deep unchanging love. Letting go of fear allows me to trust in the Lord with my whole heart and to receive the gift of love and support that is here to help me along this journey into the great wonder of what this next season holds. Transitions are exciting when you lift your gaze higher and trust the goodness of the One who is inviting you to let go…
Jean Masukevich is a trauma sensitive yoga teacher and integrative coach with over 20 years of teaching experience. Her mission is to guide others to greater mind, body, Spirit integration and connection to their authentic self. She cultivates communities of care where individuals and groups heal and share their hearts and stories through movement, writing, meditation, integrative prayer, creativity, and the sacred art of listening. Jean holds an advanced certificate in grief and trauma from the Allender Center of the Seattle School of Theology and Psychology, and is a certified Spiritual Director through Sustainable Faith. Jean serves both children and adults and is available for in person and remote coaching. Contact her at Sowthatjean@gmail.com.