I just finished reading a really good book called, “Between Two Kingdoms” by Suleika Jaouad. It is the story of a young woman’s journey through cancer. Diagnosed with a very aggressive form of leukemia at just 23 years old, Suleika was forced to confront her own mortality. Given a 35% chance of survival, she beat the odds, and following her last treatment, she set off on a road trip across the US to meet some of the people who had sent her letters of support and encouragement while she was sick.
It is an excellent book. If you are looking for a summer read, I would highly recommend it. You might cry, but you will also laugh. A lot.
The title comes from a doctor named Susan Sontag who wrote this, “everyone who is born holds dual citizenship, in the kingdom of the well and in the kingdom of the sick. Although we all prefer to use only the good passport, sooner or later each of us is obliged, at least for a spell, to identify ourselves as citizens of that other place.”
Building on that statement. Jauoad goes on to say that we are all in transition, moving back and forth between the kingdoms. It’s a true statement. Health is a fragile thing, and no one is immune to spending time in the kingdom of the sick.
It also made me think of what other kingdoms we are between.
The kingdom of success and the kingdom of failure
The kingdom of joy and the kingdom of sadness
The kingdom of peace and the kingdom of disruption
The kingdom of love and the kingdom of heartache
The kingdom of confidence and the kingdom of regret
The kingdom of the celebrated and the kingdom of the forgotten
The kingdom of the settled and the kingdom of the wandering
And on and on and on and on….
We all live our lives in places of transition. The Bible recognized this when it drew the parallel of life with the unfolding of the seasons. “To everything there is a season and a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to harvest what is planted, etc.”
The Bible also quoted Jesus as saying, “the Kingdom of God is within”. In other words, what anchors us and stabilizes us in places of transition are the things that lead us inward; faith, the love of family and friends, a peaceful mind, a contented spirit.
My takeaway from the book is that we are never fully settled in one kingdom or another. We always have dual citizenship. And so back and forth we go. But what helps us in places of transition are the things that never change. When we can anchor ourselves in those things, transitions need not scare us, they are simply the cycles and seasons of life living through us.