A Transition Metaphor
Metaphors are powerful tools for connecting awareness to action. They provide a context to map life events or a state of being whether as individuals or in relationships. God used a dandelion metaphor to help me during a transition stage in my life. I struggled with the fear of change, relocaton and travel. Where would it end?
I planned to travel abroad after my first year of nursing at 24 years young. Ready to hit the road with the book, Europe on $15 Dollars a Day, the innumerable choices and the vast journey ahead filled me with both anticipation and anxiety. I wanted to leave my options open, but in order to leave my first job and launch out it was necessary to push through the great Fear of the Unknown. I wanted to mentally prepare to settle in a distant country should a possibility arise, so I bought a one way ticket to tour Europe by Eurail and hostelling. Fear eclipsed excitement as the departure date approached.
One day before work ended, I found a dandelion. I picked it and blew it’s feather’s experiencing the same delight I felt as a four feet pigtailed child. Each feathery stem separated, twittering carefree through the air. But at this stage of my life it felt like God was impressing me with a visual.
I was like that dandelion freshly torn from it’s hold on the packed earth and uprooted from it’s safe, familiar surroundings.
His was the Hand and the Breath to steer me on my way, just as my human hand and breath had begun the journey of this dandelion’s destiny.
His breath would start my journey the very day of my work farewell. I could visualize the seeds flying in the wind just as I blew those tiny cotton wisps into the air. I knew the Holy Spirit was like the wind. God assured me I was not bantering in unknown air pockets but a God given current and direction—by my Creator’s will.
The metaphor helped me equate my feelings at various stages of my transition and relocation, leaving a good workplace and friends, traveling alone abroad on an uncharted trip with an an open return date and settling at some point—unknown. Unknown where and when’s, but a known God, Jesus Christ, whom I had devoted my life to and asked to guide me, trusting always in His wisdom and love.
The day I left my job and moved from Irvine God set the dandelion metaphor in motion. I visualized His mighty hand pulling on that dandelion stalk and as I packed my apartment and said my goodbyes, he shook the dirt off the torn stalk of that dandelion. I was uprooting. I could feel the breath of God guiding my direction even though I was free- flying, so to speak.
In the months to follow, every time I followed my whims to a new city, to new languages and peoples and archives, I envisioned that dandelion seed bobbing around still on a planned course. I was not alone. God was with me, carrying me on the wind, His wind. Daily, I had direction as I followed my heart and explored the places I had only heard about or read about all my life. Some were much scarier than the picture so full of different peoples and cultures and attitudes. But I kept God’s Word hidden safely in the center of my being, to protect me. I carried my travel Bible and shared often with others.
Fear gave way to excitement and adventure. Nips and tucks of the wind, detours and setbacks on my trip, dips and diving circumstances in the time to follow did not bother me. I knew God was with me in the winds of life.
I traveled until I tired of it. Then one day the little seed, me, settled in the Bay Area. I immersed myself in a new church, new job and social group. I pictured myself buried and rooting in unfamiliar ground. For awhile it was dark down there germinating in new soil. I figured in six months the seed would break the topsoil and I’d see the sunshine again.
Two months later the little seed pushed through the surface and hit the sunshine. It was a beautiful new world: a new community, home, church and friends. I found an enclosed dandelion case in San Francisco as a reminder of God’s prerogative to uproot me again at any time. Not until two and a half years later did I feel the tug again. The dirt loosened. The hand of God was gripping my life—the cycle was beginning, again. And the wishes I had as a child, before I blew the cotton wisps into the blue sky, were all part of the Leaving and the next Landing…and all that could or would happen in the In-Between.
This metaphor provided meaning and internal structure at a time I was letting go of all external structure. Having been raised in an overprotective home, cultural fears and superstitions, I needed to explore the world as a free adult on an extreme course. I found the internal strength I needed through the safety of a spiritual metaphor I could identify with. The metaphor worked because it was God-given. It was powerful for me. As a coach I realize God can do that in my coachees lives, also, if they tap into their source.
I am also aware I can share my metaphor with people who like dandelions. If they’ve never wondered at those fairy weeds as a child, or made a wish before they blew it to shreds, it probably would not have the same effect on them. But to those who remember…
© Dee Aspin