I am the new girl. And while this is not a novel circumstance, everything in me wants to scamper back to where I came from, to the place where I was safely sheltered in the concrete corners of urban streets cradled gently in the hammock of amiable familiarity and immaculate anonymity. I have been uprooted and it is disorienting and unnerving.
On city streets in late afternoon, the world hurries on. In that place, on those days people passed hastily on broken stone boulevards their movement serving as fuel for the composition of symphonies and stories in my mind. The man in the dark coat and worn boots striking puddles with great intent, was he the hero of his own narrative? And the ginger haired twentysomething, lithe and unlined by time, was her scenario one of simplicity and ease, or a complex tale of intrigue and strife? Might he be the love of someone’s life? Was she destined to change the world?
I always worried that someone would notice me, but I remained unknown. In the place I came from I was not new. In the place I find myself on this murky morning I am the new girl, and I feel strangely restless and increasingly exposed, as if the cadence within me is increasingly out of tempo with the unhurried gait of the outside world.
I have spoken of this transition often as of late. I have made note of its impact on my children and on the dynamics of our family, and I have spoken about its imprint on my own life, and if I’m to be honest, these mountains unmoved are growing tiresome. I am restless, as if I haven’t really met myself yet, as if perhaps in the last stop on my journey I may have caught a glimpse of my image in the fog only to have it disappear again into the mist. It is gritty and uncomfortable but it is also the truth, and as I navigate through these emotions to make sense of them, I fully embrace the knowledge that even in the wilderness of transition there is a Shepherd.
In transition and loss there is separation and the exploration of emotion related to what was and what is to come. In transition there is a time of marked numbness and disorientation as we find ourselves detached from the old life, but not yet established in the new. Transition is a desert of sorts, but God is familiar with the desert. And though it is painful, it is equally providential as the protective love of the Shepherd serves to fortify us with hope and courage to face the interior journey of transition.
Change is not easy, though we wish it were so. It requires no less than the willingness to surrender, to sit in the uncomfortable void, trusting that even as we cry and rage, we are exactly where we need to be. I am the new girl, and I will find peace in Him when I’m confronting the unfamiliar and when it seems the clock is ticking on unanswered prayers. I am the new girl, and what I am coming to understand is that this undefined yearning is what it feels like to grow. And though I am not certain as to what the coming days will bring, I will find rest in Him because in the arms of the Father there is no place for uncertainty. I am the new girl, but the story isn’t over, and for all of the seeds sown in this season there will be gardens grown in seasons to come.