Saturday, August 7, 2010



• passage: the act of passing from one state or place to the next
• conversion: an event that results in a transformation
• a change from one place or state or subject or stage to another
• cause to convert or undergo a transition; "the company had to transition the old practices to modern technology"
• a musical passage moving from one key to another
• make or undergo a transition (from one state or system to another); "The airline transitioned to more fuel-efficient jets"; "The adagio transitioned into an allegro"
• a passage that connects a topic to one that follows

So says the first entry of "define:transition" in Google. I am sitting in Atlanta's international terminal food court. I hear many non English languages and I have a sense of transition. It is actually comforting. I am transitioning from one state to another and in doing so I am transitioning through many states.

Transitions are continual. I never fully arrive at the final destination. I transition -- and I transition again. In fact I am fully aware that I do not know the final destination.

Today I am transitioning from the USA to Cameroon. I am comforted by the others here who are also transitioning. Though we share a transition of travel and locations - and even if I should end up in Cameroon with someone here, we are transitioning from and to different final destinations. We share space, a helping hand at Lobé Falls, we may even share a row on a plane, but we are not on the same journey. I share my life with Trixy and we share the destination of a life long marriage but our transitions are as varied as our individual journey.

I can't help but think about the patterns which emerge from chaos. How randomness finds order. I think about humanity. We are predicable yet not. Chaotic yet not. You and I are the same yet different. We see the world through eyes, we hear the world through ears - all our senses engaged in processing reality and the multiple transitions in which we find ourselves. We process through essentially similar neural networks and arrive at different conclusions.

Our underlying assumptions, the places we start -- provide a scaffolding by which we process voluminous input of information. We trust our scaffold implicitly.

The transitions of life, our personal journey to some future destination is enhanced by the transitions and personal journey of others intersecting with our own. Whether we agree with others or not - and perhaps by the "nots" - we learn and grow and adjust our underlying assumptions.

We may come to see the fallacy of assumed foundational premises. We may not. Depending on the question we may see the glass as half full or half empty. The point is that all the bits and pieces that make life chaotic, dancing to the beat of different drummers, when viewed at a distance paint a unique and beautiful picture. Like it or not, we are those bits and pieces. We dance together in chaotic fits and starts. We are in relationship with one another even when we don't know we are. We influence others whether we know it or not.

I have an underlying assumption that everyone is a leader: in relationship and influencing others. I have another underlying assumption: unconditional love is the most powerful "force" in the universe.

Perhaps the last assumption is this: the more I learn the more I know I don't know everything - and I am increasingly becoming more comfortable with that.