When Transitions Are A Gift
A graduate degree.
A first “real job.”
A second cross-country move in two years.
Highs, lows, and everything in between.
2022 has been a lot for me. So much transition, so much change, and so much uncertainty. For someone who tends to be at his best when he has a clear vision of what he wants and what comes next, this season of seemingly constant upheaval has been quite the challenge. Between the stress of job hunting, the new responsibilities and expectations that come with a new job, and the isolation of moving to a new community without any connections, I’ve been pushed to my limits in many ways. My emotional well-being in this past year has been on a wild rollercoaster.
In spite of this, this season of radical and frequent transition is itself the greatest gift that I could have been given this year. It’s forced me to spend time with—and try to make peace with—the feeling of incompleteness and uncertainty that I often carry around. I don’t often feel like I know who I am, or what I’m supposed to be doing. I can firmly believe that God is present and feel that God is calling me to love and be loved, but I tend to spiral when I feel like I have no clue how I am supposed to be responding to that call in the “next step,” whatever that might be.
I’ve spent most of my young adult life either distracting myself from this inner void or trying to force it into submission, with little success. To my benefit, this year there were just too many stressors to be able to do this to the same extent. I spent a lot of time wrestling with my own inadequacy and with my own needs as a human being—looking for the answer not just to “what am I supposed to be doing?” but “who am I?” and “what am I made for?”.
In the face of such questions that I can’t hope to fully answer myself, I just had to begin letting go of my need for knowledge and control, even if only the little bit that I could. Fr. Walter Ciszek, S.J. speaks from his own experience of “the eternity between anxiety and belief when a child first lets go of all support—only to find that the water truly holds him up and he can float motionless, and totally relaxed.” In the instances where I have been able to relinquish my need for security and comfort and perfect control, I’ve found peace in unknowing, and in knowing just enough for today. I’ve felt God’s loving hand enough to trust that I am where I’m supposed to be right now, and that’s all I need to know. In the middle of drastically changing life circumstances, that is plenty of a gift.
Clearly, I’m not perfect in accepting and responding to this gift—ask anyone who has tolerated me in my existential panic throughout this past year. But that’s the opportunity for the year ahead: to continue to strive, with God’s help, toward a greater reliance on God’s continual care.