The Great Gift of Chaos

At the moment, my life is commotion and chaos.

Have you ever thrown a rock into a pool of shallow, still water? Think of the instant the rock hits the water. Especially the few moments afterwards, when water shoots up and scatters. Below the surface, the sand and earth and bits of things get stirred up–lifted from where they were, but having not yet arrived where they are going.

This moment of disruption is the moment in which our family finds ourselves right now.

Life Changes

In less than 20 days, our family will move to France for six months. This is a dream long dreamed, and then lost, and then found again. Many stars have aligned to make this possible for us, including flexible career and educational opportunities, resources financial and otherwise, a miraculous vaccine, and good health. We are so grateful.

We have always wanted to live abroad with our children. When they were tiny and it seemed like we had forever in front of us and all things seemed possible, we promised ourselves that someday we would. But then life happened and we got rooted. And our jobs were tied to a physical space, and our kids were also rooted and invested in their lives. And so the flame went on the dreams we had when we were young and naive with stars in our eyes.

But then life shifted a little bit. We saw that big changes turn on small hinges. And these changes allowed our dreams to catch fire once more. And even the unforgiving winds of covid and cancer couldn’t put the flames out this time.

What Our Chaos Looks Like

In order to get from Washington to France, we are basically dismantling everything about our daily lives. One by one, I am picking up my possessions and either putting them in a box, giving them away, or, for a very few items–packing them to come with us. Every single thing we own needs to be considered. We are cancelling gym memberships and other subscriptions.

We had to figure out how my husband could do his job (which is demanding) from the other side of the world. We’ve had to arrange lodging and transportation and phones and driver’s licenses and our children’s education, and, importantly, sign up for Amazon France. We’ve had to carefully consider what to do with our sweet little dog Cooper for six months. (And don’t even talk to me about that right now or I might start crying.) Then there is all that is happening when we come home from France with our future home. Because did I mention we sold our house?

And so we find ourselves in a moment of chaos similar to that of water splashing and swirling after a big rock has been thrown into a shallow lake. But when you look closer, and you realize it’s not chaos at all. It is just movement and flow. There is order to it, and rhythm and beauty. I’m learning that often what feels like chaos is simply a shift that means life is making room for your big dreams to come true.

Is there something about your life that feels chaotic right now? Look closer . . . maybe life is just trying to make room for something good.

For more of my thoughts on life transitions, check out Covid, Cancer, and Liminal Space.