As a midwife I became skilled at intuitively recognising when a women was entering the transition stage of labour. In some cases the established rhythm of contractions and rest would pause and the stillness brought a deeper rest or time to reposition and regroup in preparation for birth. In other cases a crescendo occurs that if not harnessed can lead to an unwanted obstructed labour. It is meant to be a transitory stage, the place between pain and birth. I am learning the principles of birthing apply to life more broadly.
We are not created to remain stuck in transition but rather to harness the strength of change to allow a new transformation. Of course this is much easier if the change is chosen, the transition well supported and room has been made for the newness to be embraced.
What happens when the change catalyst is unexpected, and transition arrives with no space to
As I write I am on a plane in transit heading north up the coastline, I have just looked out the
window to discover the land and ocean are in the wrong order below. As my mind tries to rationalise this scene an announcement explains we are unable to land due to a storm so the pilot has turned back, to circle, in a holding pattern until clearance to land is given. I watch as passengers become restless with the reality of an extended transition. Our life plans do not commonly offer flexibility for such unexpected events.
This experience is a strange gift as I acknowledge in my journal my own current emotional transition.
My mother is gone from this world. Dressed ready to go shopping with her hair done, having
laughed with friends over lunch mum stepped from earth into heaven, as a sudden heart attack took her life. I am myself in a holding pattern of sorts an emotional transition of letting go. There has been a lot of letting go this year. Our daughter married and our son turned 21 and has left to finish his studies in the UK. My husband and I are empty nesters, the job of raising children complete. Now suddenly with my mother’s death I find I am no longer a daughter to anyone in this world. Nor am I a Carer, my mum moved to a retirement village near my home, several years after Dad died and I have done the journey of increasingly becoming a Carer as Alzheimer’s started to creep in and rob my mother of her memory.
All these roles have suddenly dropped away and surprisingly I am left vulnerable, searching for meaning rather than identity. In a season of celebration and relief on one hand the other has held layers of grief.
I am reminded of the massage I had the other day. I learned in the experience that remedial is
synonymous with pain and release. I discovered that my muscles had circled into tight knots that required informed pressure to release.
My heart is also under pressure to release. To release these life roles and learn that meaning can be expressed through our roles but not in them. I am transitioning, I hope, into a deeper becoming. I need to wait here and unravel, to excuse myself from the busyness and be still and wait with myself, to be the midwife to my own transition. This time suddenly seems sacred in its lack of definition.
The storm has ended and we are turning into land and I find myself considering booking another massage as my mind reclaims Romans 8 “nothing can separate us from the love of God” no amount of releasing in this life can separate us, no detour or unexpected life event, no transition can severe the eternal love of God for us and our identity in Him.
Kath - One of Gods girls . Co-senior pastor of Northridge Vineyard Church in Thornleigh, Sydney with husband Phil. Mum to Beth (Mother love to Beth's husband Sean) and Sam. South Pacific Regional Co-ordinator for Tirzah International (Investing in Women - Changing the World) Community Chaplain for Karios Outside (a ministry to women who have been impacted by a significant others imprisonment). Speaker and Writer.