Yesterday we had a marvelous celebration at Saint Francis Episcopal Church as we bid our wonderful rector farewell. He has been with us for three very short years and his presence has made a profound difference in the quality of the life of our community. Many of us find ourselves caught between the emotions of sadness and joy as we imagine our lives without his presence and the new life that will unfold for him and his lovely young family.
Three years ago when Chad Vaughn arrived in our midst we had no idea we would be saying farewell so soon. But this reminds me that there are many situations like this that confront our lives on a daily basis. Change is the only thing that is certain. We can welcome it or resist it and our choice will have a great impact upon the quality of our lives.
Most of us are quite aware of how much the world has changed in the past few decades and we see more evidence of change every day. We are asked to see the world in ways that we did not imagine to be possible and as soon as we grow somewhat comfortable with a specific view of it, we are confronted with new ways to see, and often they are even harder than the last ones.
When we lose people that we love, jobs that we thought were completely secure, possessions that we didn’t dream of having to live without, good health that we have had all of our lives or any other loss that causes us to have to reconstruct our view of reality, it is painful. Somehow it appears that we cannot get through this life journey on Earth without the disruptions that occur, and that we cannot have the experience of the new life that comes to us unless the disruptions are embraced.
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It seems that each time we are able to find a place of comfort and build the psychological and spiritual house that we wish to keep for the remainder of our lives, we discover that we must vacate that house. Life seems to demand that we live on the threshold. Though we resist change, it never fails to present itself to us in ways that cannot be denied or dismissed.
Of course change does not have to take the form of losing something in order to achieve the purpose of putting us onto the precipice of life. Whenever we are asked to embrace a new kind of energy in our life, or to move into a new situation, we often find that we are not as comfortable then as we were before the changes. This does not mean that every new situation needs to be painful. It may not be, but the fact that we have to behave in a different manner creates a state of being unsettled that often results in pain.
Change is everywhere. We see it all around us. We watch the seasons and we move through life by following many paths, but we continue to struggle with change. The comfort of the old and familiar patterns is always replaced by the new and unfamiliar and presents major challenges to our sense of well-being. We see how change is creating a spirit of fear and rage in our country these days. So many things are changing and so many folks are frightened. So many people do not know how to embrace that fear and they resort to being unpleasant and verbally abusive because they are not able to embrace the vast space that change has created in their lives. As a church, a community, a country or as an individual, we have to find a way to embrace the change that is all around us and that demands a response. Our quality of life depends upon it.
This column by Catherine Meeks, Ph.D., appears twice monthly. Meeks is also a contributing writer for the Huffington Post. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.