This is the seventeenth in a series written by Malcolm Marler and Mary Bea Sullivan, husband and wife, about their journey as Mary, an author, prepares to go to Virginia Theological Seminary. Malcolm is a director of pastoral care at a hospital in Alabama.
“He Said.” . . . by Malcolm
One of the lessons Mary and I learned from our recent two week spontaneous road trip is that we can’t really know what most things will be like until we get there.
Mary has settled into her dorm room in Alexandria, attending classes, learning her way around a new city, and making new friends which she has such a gift in doing. She has discovered many things are better than she had originally imagined, while others call for a new plan.
Brendan packed his car this weekend and moved into his apartment for his junior year at Auburn. Kiki will come home for a few days before she leaves for her junior year at Birmingham Southern.
This is a new version of an empty nest for me.
I am working on developing a new routine at home, sometimes struggling to do so. I’ve been surprised how much I have been out of sync all week as little seems routine, because well, it’s not, yet.
Mary and I are a great team in our relationship and family, but when she isn’t home it seems as though I forget everything I learned during my eight years of singleness before we married.
I’ve had to laugh at myself when simple things have seemed so hard.
- I drank decaf coffee without realizing it for three mornings at home until I realized the cause of my daily headaches.
- I left my tie at home (an hour away) one day and had to go shopping at 7:30 in the morning in Birmingham. Note: Walmart does not have a good men’s tie selection.
- On Friday, it took me two hours to get home instead of one because I kept leaving things at work that I needed for the weekend and had to return to my office over and over again.
There were many more examples of my wrestling match with change.
Change is hard for most of us. When it happens, we have to think about even the simplest details in our day. It is uncomfortable and it will wear you out.
I’m learning to take a deep breath when I get frustrated or sad, and give myself a little grace and space instead of the negative self talk that I should be doing better.
The truth is . . . we can’t really know what it is going to be like until we get there, no matter how much planning we do beforehand. Change demands that we go with the flow.
How about you? What has helped you adjust to significant changes in your life? What secrets can you share in the comments below?