Transitions and Changes
I’ve been thinking about and living through significant change these last few months. I prefer to think of it more as “transition” because change always seems to be such a mammoth undertaking. Change signals, for me, a willingness to pull up roots, move on to the largely unknown, try not to stumble in the process, and now, do so with my spouse. However, this past Sunday, as I listened to my spouse preach a brilliant sermon on change and marriage equality—refusing to take the easy way out by caricaturing those who are against equality and those who are for it—I realized that she is also thinking about changes we are going through as we move two households and two offices in two states to one. It’s a daunting task as any moves, especially ones that involve relocations, are. But I have become intrigued by my reluctance to call what we are doing change. Instead, I find myself more comforted by the idea of transition.
As I mused this, I began to realize that transition signals a great deal more of control on my part. I can set out a game plan for how I will come to know the new place and its people, how I will learn a new city and its culture, how we will decide on our new home, how I wish to allow my new colleagues and students to get to know me better. The key word here is control—I am steering this ship (or at least I think I am). But the reality is that people and places really don’t always conform to what we think is best in coming to know them. If I wish to employ womanist methodology in all areas of my life, I will honor the ways that folks and a place want to be known on their own terms. It does, in the final analysis, make for a much more interesting and lively relationship to do it this way than the planned methodological route I had launched my self on.
So although I am keeping the appointments I’ve made with folks, I am now doing so through the lens of change. We are all changing as we begin this new phase of life in a school together and some elements of this must carry with them the order that is often indicated with the notion of transition. But the really intriguing part, the part that is much more full of life and future possibilities and perhaps a surprise or two are the changes we will embark on together.