“Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.” -Pauline R. Kezer
Have you ever stopped to think about how differently we perceive life as we grow older? Maybe not all childhood’s maintained as much a sense of unchangability and stability as my childhood had but I am quickly realizing that change is inevitable.
The first time I ever consciously thought about changes in life was my senior year in high school. I had experienced change before this; death and birth, success and failure, friends made and friends lost, people growing up and moving on, but there had never been a conscious connection between that change and the process of life. But there was a lot of change that was about to happen my senior year; my oldest sister was getting married and I was gaining a brother, my other sister was graduating with her AA and was then most likely going to move to Chicago, all while I was about to graduate from high school and would soon be headed off to college. It seemed as though my whole life was changing. I was about to lose and gain friends, get a job and then move away from home. Everything was about to become different and although I was excited, I wasn’t completely sure I was ready for the change.
Since that time a lot of things have continued to change. I changed where I was going after high school and ended up staying at home 6 months longer than I had planned. I watched my sister and dad leave to live in Chicago for a year. I left my mom at home, alone, to move to California, by myself, for school. I fell in love with the people, the school, life in California, I dyed my hair from blonde to black and back again to blonde, I got my nose pierced. I dated and broke up with two different guys and gained multiple friendships. I traveled inside the West Coast, the United States, as well as outside the country.
As a child I thought that change was abnormal, something that only happened every once in a while and when it did happen it was the exception but never the “rule.” As I have grown older and as I’m making my way as an adult I’ve realized that change is not the exception but it is instead the rule. Change is in every part of our lives. Babies are born and loved ones die. Little kids grow up as the seasons change. People fall in and out of love, gain relationships and break off relationships. Friendships grow and blossom as other people grow further apart. Change is constantly involved in life.
And now here I am. Facing “Round Two” of change. I am about to start my senior year at college, in less than a year I will be graduated and have my BA degree, I will hopefully have my Foursquare license and I will be moving somewhere for some job that has yet to come about. I am looking to live in an apartment for this next year as I figure out what it means to live on a budget and still enjoy life. My oldest sister and brother-in-law are pregnant with the first addition to our family. My other sister is going to be finishing her degree as well while working full-time. And finally my parents, after celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, are going to be packing up my childhood home and moving to Spokane.
I’ve never been a huge fan of change. Why? Because I don’t
like the unknown, I don’t like to guess and I get scared of what could happen. I like lists and plans. I do everything in my power to stick to the plan and when the plan is deviated from….hello anxiety! Thankfully over the last 3 years I have experienced a lot of change and along the way have gained an appreciation for taking life as it comes, for throwing the plan out, for unplanned detours and in trusting God as he switches things up.
I have learned and I’m continuing to learn that change is weird and different but shouldn’t always be considered bad. That with change comes growth and opportunity. That with change we are able to love free-er and fuller and it allows for our love to widen. As my family expands I gain more people to love and to learn about. When I moved to California I was moving away from all the friends I had ever known but over the course of the past 2 1/2 years I have gained more friends and relationships than I ever expected. The friends and quality of friends I have now is fuller and richer than it ever could have been if I had stayed.
And so, change, although difficult, painful and often scary, allows for us to experience life completely. Stand strong, face change head on and get ready for God to mold, shape and bless you in new and unexpected ways.