Before I left China I visited the ancient ruins of Ankor Wat. Afterwards I recommended anyone going through a significant life transition visit a place so much larger than themselves it helps to put one in place. Yes, I am important and what I experience matters, but don’t buy into all of the press going on in my mind. (This is HUGE. No one has gone through anything like this. I will be forever defined by this. Am I ruining my life? — Being in real ruins has a way of showing occasional absurdity of the inner life.)
Massive scale has a way of whispering, “Informed by this transition and season of life, yes. Defined, not necessarily, that one’s up to you.”
The word profound can be overused, dulling us to what is … profound.
What word fits my trip to Beijing? A trip including
An unexpected reunion with my last team? A friend undergoing cancer surgery in the wake of her mother’s death? My first return to China after more than a year out with the death of my dad still measured in months?
I now have another life recommendation. Let enough time pass so you are rooted in your new life and then visit your old life. Enough time will have passed allowing you to see:
- What is precious and associated with that season of life, space, or a person, but you didn’t know it
- How you have moved on
- How grateful you are for what that season offered to you
One more recommendation :) … watch inspiring movies.
I saw the first one on a quiet afternoon as my friend napped. We had returned to hospital that morning and visited the ER for an unexpected medical glitch that needed attending. Nothing alarming, but outings could be exhausting given the realities of needing to walk to find a taxi and not having transportation right there. When we got home she rested and I watched Belle, based on the true story of a mixed race young woman in the 18th Century with themes of family, privilege, race, love, and slavery. Now, in full disclosure, it was the movie Sarah Plain and Tall that inspired me to move to China, so I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to encouraging one to life a story of significance. Belle reminded me living a good story isn’t just for those at the start of life (her uncle was also living one).
Regardless of the setting, am I still living a story worth living?
The second movie was Gravity. My friend Dan gave it to me the first day I saw him and told me I’d like it. The two weeks passed and he asked if I’d watched it. He’s only given me one movie before with the suggestion of watching it (and now that I think about it, I wasn’t taken with that movie. Faulty memories can be a blessing!). I watched part of Gravity the night before I returned to the States and finished it the next morning (Hey, why pack before you need to? One of my life mottos.). Hear me now and believe me later, Gravity is a must see when you are exiting one life and either entering or reentering another. A must see. The main character, played by Sandra Bullock, has been in a accident in space and is up against horrendous odds to return to earth. She had to be tethered to something greater than herself of she would float away.
Hello, what do people in transition need? To be tethered to something greater than themselves, their feelings, their thoughts, and their roller coaster emotions. Given how loaded this trip was, it was gut wrenching to leave. I felt untethered. But I wasn’t. I am tethered to God who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Though I may feel like I’ll float away, the tether connected to something great than me says other wise.
Notice how I waited to the end of this post to spring this on you … Welcome to A Trip In Review Week: what it’s like to revisit your old life. I don’t want to drag this on for the next several weeks and have both of us get so sick of me and the trip. Instead, I’m going to hit it hard this week and then move on. So, sit back and enjoy the ride — we are tethered after all!
Have you gotten to visit your old life after a significant transition? What was it like? What movies might you add to my list of transition movies?