A friend of ours is sad today; she's saying goodbye to her daughter who's going off to boarding school in another country.
Other parents are sad as they move sons and daughters into college dormitories on distant campuses, or wave goodbye to their children as they go to school for the first time, or see a child move in with the other parent after a divorce.
I was sad when Clare and her girls moved from an apartment nearby to a rental house on the other side of town, where they'd have much more room. I feared Penny and I would see much less of them.
There are many transitions we humans confront daily.
Each transition represents change and is a kind of little death. Life as we knew it is no more. We move, by choice or not, from the known to the unknown. And that movement is both scary and sad.
But there's something positive about transition, too, and paradoxical. For to change is to grow. To lose is to gain. To die is to live.
In letting go of the little one who's starting school, or that young adult who's becoming a college freshman, we're participating in that person's growth and in our own. (And that one who's stepping onto the school bus or sitting in his or her first lecture course in college is also letting go.)
Our son or daughter is moving into the future that God intends--becoming independent, making his or her own choices, finding his or her own happiness along the way.
And we who let go grow in the process. We gain something we'd otherwise miss. We learn about ourselves--if only how to turn loose of those we love, to grieve, and to find new life for ourselves.
In transitions, there's a foreshadowning of that greatest one--death--when we'll move from this physical life into eternal life with God through the power of the resurrection.
Poet T.S. Elliot writes that in every ending, there's a beginning.
May God bless our endings with beginnings.