“The dominant ideology of our culture is committed to continuity, and success, and to the avoidance of pain, hurt and loss. The dominant culture is also resistant to genuine newness and real surprise. It is curious, but true, that surprise is as unwelcome as is loss and our culture is organized to prevent the experience of both”
— Walter Brueggemann
Recently my daughter shared something in the car that made me realize we were moving through some big changes in our life, but more importantly we were making the transition. Change in life is inevitable. Change happens and comes in many forms. But what I realized in the car that day was that it’s the transitions in life that matter most. Or another way to say this, transition is how we react, process and grow through that change.
I have an idol of comfort. I realize that a lot of my frustration in life often comes with a disruption of my comfort. As the quote of above would suggest, this idol of comfort causes me to seek to avoid both pain and surprise. Even though pain and surprise are always opportunities for growth and newness.
How about you? What are your reactions to disruptions of comfort or normalcy in your life?
No one likes the disorientation that change can bring. But if change is inevitable, the better option is, not avoidance, but leaning into the change.
WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS
I’ll never forget a man I met and worked with several years ago. When I met him his cancer had been in remission for 8 years. As he told me the stories of his life, it was obvious that his battle with cancer had changed everything. After cancer, his perspective on life changed. How he spent his time changed. What he valued in life changed. He was so refreshing to be around because he would share wisdom and perspective that oozed joy and hope.
Cancer is a terrible disruption and disorientation and no one wants to “welcome” it as a surprise in their life. But as his cancer came back and he had to battle it all over again, I watched a man embrace the challenge knowing that this disruption — which was messing with his comfort and his ideal, normal life — had the possibility to bring new orientations and surprises that were worth the pain and potential loss.
He was incredibly thankful for the lessons cancer taught him and the 8 years of life with a new orientation that cancer made possible. He was loving his wife and kids better, giving his time to walk alongside young people and help them make sense of the world, he was driving a motorcycle across the US, he was noticing the beauty in life all around him, he was skiing areas that you had to helicopter in to get access to, and he was filled with joy and hope and the mystery of what can happen when we embrace change.
This man could have easily shrinked away and become bitter in the face of his diagnosis, but he embraced the pain and surprise and emerged thankful for newness of life.
MAKING THE TRANSITION
In the last 6 months, our family has sold our home, been “homeless” for two months, moved into a new home, had a baby, and started a kid in kindergarten. Significant change, but the question is have we transitioned?
After we got back in the car from the “meet the teacher” night, I asked my daughter, –“You’ve been through a lot lately, has it been hard or fun?”
Umm…It’s been in the middle of hard and fun. But…
New house – check!
New baby – check!
And now I have started Kindergarten – check!
She has been through the change, but now she is making the transition.
How have you recently experienced change in your life? Have you leaned into this change and what has been it’s effects on your life?
Are you shrinking back from the change and therefore neglecting the opportunity to grow and embrace surprise and newness?
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