Recently, I have been thinking of my life as a collection of chapters of relative equilibrium and predictability interspersed with transitional periods when my life is less settled. It is during these periods of transition that I have felt the Holy Spirit’s presence more fully in my life. It seems that Holy Spirit serves as a guide and support during periods of disequilibrium and change in my life. Right now, I am in a period of transition. This transition resulted from a combination of factors. In September, our youngest child left to go to college so that my husband and I are experiencing being empty-nesters after 24 years of the joys and challenges of raising three children. In addition, I made the decision to leave my teaching career after 29 wonderful years of working in boarding schools as a math teacher and dorm supervisor. This change in my work has resulted in a significant change in lifestyle. We no longer live on campus in a dormitory and I no longer have the constant human contact and heavy demands associated with living and working in a close-knit boarding school community.
This transition period has been hard for me at times and wonderful at other times. It seems to me that every major transition in my life has been accompanied by both losses and by opportunities for growth. I am grieving the loss of the community in which we lived for so many years and the loss of the presence of our children at home. However, this transition period has allowed me the opportunity to explore my interests and passions and consider various paths for my next career. Imagining my future work is both nerve-wracking and exciting. There are practical considerations, like health insurance and mortgage payments, but there is also an opportunity for me to reach inside of myself and clarify my values and priorities for my life ahead. I have appreciated the love and support of my husband, my children, my friends and this church community as I grapple with these issues. Through these relationships in my life, the Holy Spirit is working in me to allow me the space and time to grieve the losses and to guide me and hold me as I reflect and discern. The Holy Spirit’s presence is helping me to have the courage, calm and energy I need to embrace fully this transition period and plan for the next chapter in my life. I feel very grateful for this love and spiritual support in my life.