The Daily BS • Bo Snerdley Cuts Through It!

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For times of transition, you’ll need two doors


Opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the author.

The word on the street these days is “transition.” In Sesame Street parlance, it is brought to you by the letter ‘T’, along with the letter ‘U’ for unsettling and two ‘P’s’ for possibly painful.

If you have at least enough candles on your cake to light a small coat closet, then you have experienced transition. Change, we know, comes to us all.

Right now, three of our four sons are in varying stages of transition. One of them is looking to use his brand-new college degree. He’s been knocking, and he’s still waiting. A second one has been pursuing an acting career. He, too, has been job hunting to support himself as he hopes, dreams, and studies his craft.

Yet another one finds himself in a challenging place. Things are tough in his current position, but he doesn’t feel a clear leading to move on. Should he go? Should he stay? It’s very hard, and yet he waits.

Meanwhile, as his brothers are making their way in the great, wide world, The Cub enjoys a happy, carefree existence with a summer job, his buddies, and the cross-country team. And the mother of them all keeps a watchful eye on the whole cabal, speaking their names in prayer.

In a few days, my husband and I will celebrate 36 years of marriage. In those 36 years, we have undergone a great deal of transition. We went from impoverished newlyweds to college kids with a toddler, furnishing our tiny apartment in Early American Poverty. During those intense years, one set of parents got divorced, and suddenly our family was shattered. It was a big and painful change we didn’t want.

After college, he dove into the workforce, now with two small children, eager to use his own fresh degree. He pursued his major (accounting). The career path twisted and turned, finally landing him smackdab in a position that became increasingly hard. For long months and years, he agonized, feeling squeezed and pressed nearly beyond his ability to endure. Should he go? Should he stay? He felt no clear leading to move on, and so he waited. At long last, the answer came. One more time, the path turned, a door opened, and like that, he was self-employed.

To support the fledgling business, this stay-at-home mom underwent her own transition. I studied medical transcription, passed the class, and started a new career. As the baby slept in his car seat under my desk, I’d rock him with one foot, press the pedal to play the dictation with the other foot, and type with both hands for doctors in other states. That particular season, for me, consisted of typing, cooking, cleaning, laundry, kid wrangling, and little else. It was hard. It was a huge change I hadn’t foreseen, but when it came, I found the strength to do it.

“Nothing has turned out like we thought it would.” We have repeated these words to each other so many times because it’s true. Hardly anything looks like we expected it would. Some changes have been exhilarating, and some have been excruciating. One thing I know—the hardest things, the toughest changes have ushered in the greatest personal growth. As fire refines gold and intense pressure and heat form diamonds, just so our struggles can refine us, creating beautiful things in our lives. All of that, however, takes time.

For my son who, like his father once was, is stuck in a difficult place of waiting, this is how I pray. “Give him two open doors, one by which to exit when the time is right and one through which to enter when the place is right.” His dad will tell you how well this works, for he experienced the self-same thing.

It is here that I must tell you the other crucial piece of my husband’s story. As he languished in that erstwhile waiting room, something important was happening. Unbeknownst to him, the very qualities he would need for the next stage in life were being developed. Down in the depths, in the secret places of his heart, resilience, confidence, and perseverance were taking shape, and lifelong fear was being destroyed. He did not know this until much later, long after the second of the two doors had opened up and he’d walked through it. That extended period of suffering and uncertainty had perfectly prepared him for what he would do next. And all through the painful transition, he had everything he needed to endure.

Over the years, we have used his journey countless times to encourage and instruct our own sons. Far from being wasted, that time in the fire has borne much fruit, for he has shared the lessons with others.

If you find yourself in a similar time of transition and uncertainty, I hope our stories will encourage you. As I often say, “There’s no actual reason for despair. It only looks like it.”

My friend, do not let your time in the waiting room be wasted. Let it teach you, grow you, and refine you. Then you, too, will be perfectly prepared for what comes next, and you will have something to give to others who are coming along behind you.

As always, may God bless America. May he bless, keep, and guide all who wait today.

You can hear America’s small, caffeinated mom every Saturday morning on 77 WABC with James Golden, aka Bo Snerdley.

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