"Time is filled with swift transition,
Naught on earth unmoved can stand
Build your hopes on things eternal
Hold to God's unchanging hand..."
As a child I remember singing this song in church without knowing what "transition" even was. Today I see evidence of that word everywhere I look. Right now, the world is mourning and celebrating the life of Cicely Tyson. A friend is conducting his mother's funeral which I will soon watch on Facebook. As I look at these two life stories in pictures, I can see the evidence of the transition from child to young adult, to middle age, to aged. The transition from time to eternity isn't the only kind of transition; you are probably experiencing some transition in your own life.
According to vocabulary.com, "A transition is a change from one thing to the next, either in action or state of being—as in a job transition or as in the much more dramatic example of a caterpillar making a transition into a butterfly."
We all love the story of how caterpillars become butterflies, don't we? When I read a description of how it happens, it doesn't sound like a lot of fun for the caterpillar, though. Part of the process apparently includes hanging upside down, becoming a liquidy mess and eating itself. We love what transition looks like when it is finished, but the process to transition seems to be universally difficult and ugly.
Your greatest goals, whether personal or professional, make transition necessary. If you will grow from tentative child to wise adult, you can't skip over the difficult teenage years or the often-uncertain twenties. If you will leave a legacy, you must confront the part of you that is comfortable and afraid to stand out from the crowd. If you want to improve your health, you must do the work of becoming physically, emotionally, and spiritually fit. If you want whole relationships you must confront whatever threatens wholeness, even if you are scared of confrontation. If you want to be free in your emotions, you must practice letting go of stuff that you cannot change as you stumble and skin your knees and elbows changing what you can. You may feel like your world is being turned upside down, and occasionally (or frequently) collapse into a "liquidy" mess of tears, but transition requires you persist.
Why even bother? Because there is a generation coming after who won't know how to confront their own mediocrity or fears if they don't see you confront yours. If you understand what it took for the caterpillar to become a butterfly, you will be more appreciative of its beauty and its strength. If we don't acquaint ourselves and those to come with the daily realities, pain, and need for transition, we will continue to admire the butterfly, the movie stars, or the dearly departed while ignoring the opportunities for greatness that lie within our own grasps.
What transition do you need to start today? How can we help?
Michele Aikens is lead coach of Sepia Prime Communications and coaching. She’s currently transitioning into someone who completes several projects that have been on the back burner for years. You might be able to reach her here: