In my younger days I thought I could control change. I learned, and not quickly I would add, that no one can control or stop change anymore than one can hold back the tides or halt the autumn leaves transforming from green to gold. This brings me to today’s topic of change and how to understand it, accept its daily invitation and be grateful for the life-giving aspects of it.
First, change is inevitable. Think of those individuals you know who, despite painful adversity, have been able to go on even after their world changed and fell down around them. These individuals accept – sometimes hourly – the inescapable reality of change. Interestingly, Charles Darwin believed that those of us who survive are not necessarily the most intelligent nor even the strongest but those who can respond to ongoing change.
Second, change is difficult. Humans seem to believe that as long as things remain the same they are safe, secure and sitting pretty. Well, I’ve known numerous relationships in my counseling practice over the years which ended painfully because one or both parties thought that changing their problematic behavior was unnecessary for a healthy connection. I’ve also seen several good businesses collapse because their owners believed websites unnecessary. Additionally, I’ve witnessed some individuals’ health deteriorate because of unwillingness to replace soda and TV for water and exercise. I think there really is an underlying fear in changing old paradigms. Reaching for the old sweatshirt might feel safer than that new sweater but it really isn’t, it’s just an old familiar sweatshirt.
Third, change is life-giving. You were layed off, depressed and stressed out. Less money prompted you to fix your own roof; replace your own front door. Or, inspired by your pastor’s or rabbi’s kindness, you decided to volunteer for the first time in your life. The experience was so gratifying that you now recruit others to volunteer because it has made your life bigger, richer and happier.
Fourth, change is faith in process. Think of people you find fascinating. Are they folks who say no to everything new or are they the ones who sign up for tango or flying lessons? When we accept change – even when it comes in a big soul package as loss and pain – we are moving with life’s rhythm. It’s not easy sometimes; it takes patience and maturity to shoulder daily disappointments. It requires enormous strength and great spiritual courage to move forward after a failed relationship, job loss or devastating grief. But when we do, we are in cooperation with a power far above our own.
My Friends, when we have faith in life’s process, we are open to change. When we have trust that all will be well we hear the deeper, richer, and convincing voice of a million lifetimes that guides us safely through our dark night. That faith, that trust, that openness will fortify our journey, our pilgrimage and our confidence not to just survive but to make this day and Every Day Matter.
Copyright Mary Jane Hurley Brant
Updated: September 18, 2013