Why is it that 'new' is fun but 'change' is hard? I keep hearing about what a scary thing change can be, but it can also be a tremendously exciting thing too. I love new things… new books, new scrapbook supplies, new vision, new hope, new enthusiasm. After a bit of pondering, I've come to this conclusion. Change will either be dreaded or embraced based on our expectations. Let me try to illustrate.
About ten years ago, I was the Principal of a small Christian school. We were funded primarily by tuition and had little extra for some of the supplies that would have made it easier for the teachers and/or more fun for the students. I decided to begin a fun little challenge that we called "Change for Change." I explained to the students some of the possibilities of what that money could be used for and each month the class who raised the most would win a special treat. The children began bringing in their pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters and enthusiasm was everywhere. We never heard the children or their parents complain that they didn't want things to change. They were not looking at what it would cost them. Looking back, it was because the fundamental premise was that the changes would be good and beneficial to them.
Have you moved recently? No doubt, you were excited to move to the "new house" and planned for and embraced the change. But when it comes right down to it, moving is a lot of hard work! We are willing to do the work and endure the inconveniences because our expectation is for good. (Still, many who have just moved a household, swear they will never do it again!)
As people, we are constantly growing and changing. With each passing year, our marriages change, our children change, our jobs change and our hopes and dreams change. The majority of the time those changes are simply worked into our daily life and we adjust. Other changes, such as death and divorce, completely change the landscape of our lives.
We just passed the one year anniversary of our mom's death. We knew things would change, though we couldn't have really known how. Loved ones in our lives fill so many spaces, big and small. So often we don't know how, or don't truly appreciate them, until they are gone. Obviously, the four of us kids lost our mom and our kids lost their grandma. Way beyond those major roles, a myriad of other things have changed that we could not have anticipated. I have heard it described as a 'new normal.' It is not what we are accustomed to, but it is what we must adapt to. It was a change that none of us were anxious to embrace.
I recently read a little book on the life of Jim Henson, entitled, It's Not Easy Being Green. In it Jocelyn Stevenson wrote: "…we were like dandelion seeds clinging to the stem and to each other. And on May 16th the wind began to blow. There's no stem anymore. We're all floating on the breeze. And it's scary and exhilarating. And there's nothing we can do about it. But gradually, we'll all drift to the ground and plant ourselves. And no matter what we grow into, it'll be influenced by Jim. We're Jim's seeds. He changed our lives. He changed the world. And we'll continue his work, because that's how inspiration operates. Inspired by his gentleness, we'll fill the world with gentleness. Inspired by his vision, we'll fill the world with vision. Inspired by his chicken imitation, we'll fill the world with laughter."
I share that excerpt because I think it's a great illustration and because it's not just about Jim Henson. You can insert the name of any loved one and their characteristics and it still holds true. As we celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday, those words can even perfectly describe the new lives we lead as a result of the death of one man over 2000 years ago. The expectation of what the death of an influential person in our lives means, greatly influences how we walk through that experience.
Is there a change on the horizon in your life? Are you dreading it or anticipating it? Was it part of your plan (Change for Change) or a change that's been forced upon you (loss of a job or loved one)? What we expect and how we respond will determine how much we grow and learn from the changes that come our way. Since the winds of change seem constant, I've decided I want to try and be flexible so that I can take the seeds of lessons learned and grow.
Floating on the Breeze With You,