Transitions: Grappling with the Gap

In last week’s post, I announced my surprise that I’d put a contract on a townhouse-since navigating the market has been so difficult. Once that offer was accepted, it seems like I was swept into a river’s flow being pulled downstream with the appraisal, inspection, estimates on repairs, and cost for fresh paint. I’ve been in another river as well; over the past two years, since my divorce, I’ve been in the muddy current that is the Gap. It’s that in-between period when you’re caught in the flow that pulls you along and you’re not sure if your feet can touch bottom.

I’ve written about the Gap since 2016 when I completed my Life Coaching Course. In Linda Bark’s Wisdom of the Whole Academy, we learned various ways of helping people make changes. One of the tools we frequently referred to was Bill Bridges Model for Change. He describes three stages in the process: Endings, the Gap, and New Beginnings.

In the post “Trusting God in the Gap” from May 31, 2020, I was dealing with the Gap as I cleaned out my house before selling it and moving to my current apartment. Then, I looked back and remembered the changes I encountered when I retired from full-time work as a school nurse. They were described in the post in 2018 “Afraid of the Next Chapter”:

“The middle of the change process seems to be the most difficult for me. The Gap phase can be muddy, trying to make your way in foreign waters without that old familiar course you followed on autopilot. It’s a time when you “sit with things” instead of rushing on to fix the uncertainty about the new chapter you’re entering.

Now, I see the changes of my past six years since taking that course and look at the progress through reading my posts— kind of like my ‘public diary.’

When I read my posts and look back on my life from the vantage point of being sixty-seven, I see many major and minor endings along my path. When I wrote that post in May of 2020–I was going through my year of marital separation along with the lockdown of the pandemic. I was cleaning out my house with much of our forty years of marriage to disassemble. I was facing putting it onto the market and finding a new place to live–an apartment that would be my next home. Now, I’m at the next benchmark of leaving my rental and taking on a new home by myself–for the first time in my sixty-seven years.

Recently I was talking with my friend-since-first-grade, Donna about feeling a cumulative tiredness from my travels, returning to test positive for Covid, and now having to navigate buying a house. The thought of all that will be required between now and when I move into my townhouse felt like more than I could handle.

“When you moved into your apartment, you were forced to because of the divorce,” she said. “This move is because of your choice. Now you’ll really be starting your new life.”

My divorce is what Bridges would call a “Forced Ending.”

Now, I’m navigating what Bridges says can be a”muddy phase” with the old way gone and the new way not formalized. I’ve approached the New Beginnings phase while in this Gap; I’ve continued to live in my old community while venturing into the New Beginnings through online dating and taking dance classes. It will feel more like I’ve gotten to the New Beginnings phase once the purchase of my townhouse goes through and I move to my new community of Apex, which is twenty-two miles from my Durham apartment.

I like the way Eric April describes handling these changes in “The Challenge of Life Transitions” from the website of the Center for Personal Development. He states, “Transitions may be scary, but they offer an experience to grow and discover new parts of ourselves and the world around us.” His advice to “limit the amount of change experienced at once” seems solid. He uses examples of keeping aspects of his life such as schedule and diet–as consistent as possible when going through significant life transitions. He keeps the perspective of seeing transitions as special because he wouldn’t be at the same place in life if not for them. April says, “During stressful times I  recall each life transition I successfully made it through and remind myself that I can and will eventually navigate myself through the current situation.”

Photo by Matteus Silva de Oliveira on

I look back to May of 2020 and remember that I sold our home without a lot of difficulty. There were people along my path to help me with each step of the process. The move was exhausting, but eventually I established my new, temporary home in my apartment and made it mine– at least in what I chose for the interior. While I don’t look forward to moving, I do anticipate that I’ll feel more like I’m getting through the Gap and onto the New Beginnings waiting on the other side.

I wonder what Gap you may be in at this time? What type of transition is challenging you?

My hope for all of us is that we can find the resources we need to move forward to our New Beginning–whatever that looks like. We can be certain we’ll go through these phases of change repeatedly over the years. Each time we succeed we’ll hopefully experience what Eric April referred to as “an experience to grow and discover new parts of ourselves and the world around us” — no matter our age.

Blessings on You,


Photo by John Smith on

2 thoughts on “Transitions: Grappling with the Gap

  1. This is funny in a way. Today, it is difficult to understand the “young person” looking for love. Social Media has allowed these people to push through the wall, and let everyone know that “age is only a number.” Where they miss the mark is that the number does create a space to mess with their minds.
    This post is a testament to your strengths and little weakness that has gotten you to today. Keep in mind that all things are temporary, and you are protected and guided with, not so much, what you want, but what is best for you. Your strengths are in those around you who care and you listen. From here on you may not see another Gap. I see only beginnings moving into beginnings. Experiences to cherish. Love and Blessing to you, John.


    • Hey John,
      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your perspective.
      I struggled some with what to write just as I’ve struggled in the gap. I do feel a pull toward my new beginning.
      I wish you the best with whatever you’re navigating in your life.

      Liked by 1 person

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