At one level, I find change to be difficult at times. Despite my faith, my human heart does not always welcome a new normal. In a topsy turvy world, constancy brings me a sense of peace. I thought about this as I spent time looking at the golden colored aspen trees that now surround us.
Fall is a time in which we are reminded of the beauty, the wonder, and the joy of change itself. If change did not exist, leaves would remain green throughout the year. If everything remained the same, oceans would be lake-like as waves would not be part of the pattern of nature. If constancy was the norm, we would have light all day without the moon or the stars. Isn’t it ironic that much of what is best in life comes about precisely because of change?
Without change, I would still be an infant. My childhood years would be non-existent. I would not have my beloved wife or children in my life. Ministry would not be how I spend my days. Any wisdom I have acquired would not be part of who I am now. My friends that enrich my life would be off the radar screen. My faith, which has grown by leaps and bounds, would be stagnant. Love deepens and grows and becomes more profound because things are not static. All of these things and so much more are part of life because of change itself.
Yet, change has a flip side, doesn’t it? I’ve lost friends, family members, and my parents. I am not as able bodied as I once was. Restaurants I used to love and places I cherished, no longer are around. Our children have left the nest. I’ve had to say goodbye to places and people I’ve loved. All of these things and so much more happen precisely because of change.
As I ponder these realities, I realize that over the years learning to accept change, lack of constancy, and times in which things are not predictable, is a key challenge each of us must resolve in order to thrive.
I believe part of how we learn to accept change is to acknowledge all that is good and wonderful and beautiful because of change, and to celebrate and give thanks for such things, some of which I highlighted above. To be honest with ourselves about all that is hard and painful and tough due to change, and to grieve and share our losses with others. And to keep our eyes on what is constant, which is God’s unbounded love for us, the love we have for others and they have for us, the adventures we are able to experience, the gifts God has given us, the meaning and purpose of our lives, and that this life is just part of a fragment of our eternal existence with God and each other.
As the leaves continue to turn, I invite you to join me in praying about change itself. To ask God to help you in accepting change and to learn to see change from God’s perspective. To share with others both the upsides and downsides of change. And to go outside and witness what nature is saying to us about change itself.