The value of relationships in transition
By Stephen C. Schultz
The air was crisp with the feel of late summer. A dull glow was slowly appearing over the muted green horizon that was laced with the tops of large Douglas Fir trees. I stood next to the trunk of one of those very trees, gazing out upon the calm morning water that would bring with it a day of fishing. With my son, my father, my brother in-law and my nephew, we set out on the water. In fact, it was a day that began a week of travel that included three different lakes, fishing and family visits.
The lakes were Odell Lake in Central Oregon, Collard Lake on the Oregon Coast and Bear Lake that splits the Utah and Idaho border. Activities included the before mentioned fishing but also much needed time with grandparents, uncles, aunts cousins and extended family.
There was blood from the prick of a fish hook. There was sweat from time spent cleaning and sweeping the roof and rain gutters of grandparents too frail to keep up with the never-ending chores of home ownership. There were tears while visiting with my grandmother, who at 99 years old is simply a shell of the woman we knew at loved. There was laughter at the telling of funny stories and the many memories of times gone by.
I could write about each experience and share a travel log of time spent. However, that is not what dominated my thoughts while on this trip. It was something quite different. I found myself constantly being drawn back to the concept of transitions in life. It was the time in the car traveling with my son who is making a transition back to college. It was staying up late consoling my mother about her mother who is navigating the last stages of this life in a very poignant way. It was speaking with a sister in-law who I haven’t seen in many years, reconnecting and discussing the issues surrounding her aging parents.
Life seems to be a never ending transition. We are forever working to reach a destination that never comes. Time is that elusive natural law that is always there. There are instances in our lives where time is forgiving as it passes. There are also instances where we seem to constantly be in a battle with time. Regardless of our situation in life, time always brings with it a transition of some kind that we must navigate, interpret, understand and make sense of. We can try to ignore time. We can try to control time. We can fight it or try and make it our friend. The bottom line is that time has no feelings. Time has no agenda. Time simply is time. It passes to never come back.
So, what does this have to do with anything? Some pretty deep thoughts to be sure. I think the take away for me in all of this is that time and transitions in life are constant. Some are larger than others. The one constant besides time, is the relationships we have with others. It’s the relationships we foster that bring meaning to transitions in life.
For those of us who are people of faith, it’s the relationships we develop that transcend time. It’s the hope of a hereafter where relationships we value in this earthly existence can continue. It’s the desire for a reunion with loved ones who have gone on before us. It’s the realization that once the career, the money, the clothes and prestige are gone, we are only left with relationships.
But, no matter the size or the details of our personal transitions, we are always reminded that we are not fully comfortable in this enigma called time.