1 a : to make different in some particular : alter
I read a friend's blog post recently that featured the most beautiful trees. There were yellow leaved trees, trees of vibrant red, a barren tree with green moss - trees in the midst of changing from one season to another. As I read her words and looked at the images she'd chosen, I wondered why I can embrace the change of seasons, but fight change in so many other areas of my life.
I love the change of seasons, most especially the change from summer to fall. Fall heralds good things: warm soups bubbling on the stove, cups of hot tea sipped with friends, curling up under a blanket with a good book, an afternoon spent watching football, Thanksgiving with family and friends. I love fall for its differences from summer. I love that it brings routine back into our life after the lazy days of summer. I love that I can stop wearing sandals and switch to boots. I love the movement from tomato tart to butternut squash lasagna. I love the alterations fall makes to our lives.
So why can't I embrace change in other areas? Why can't I rejoice that the addition of one daughter to my homeschooling crew has required not just increased patience, but an entirely new plan? Why can't I be thankful for the hours spent nursing a sick child back to health? Why can't I be content to vacuum the dining room floor, knowing that my daughters have taken on sweeping, mopping and other chores that used to be mine?
In part, I think it's harder to embrace change in these other ways because I lack a knowledge that I have with the seasons. I can relax into the change from summer to autumn precisely because I know that autumn will not last forever. I celebrate its vibrant colors and cool breezes because I know they will all too quickly give way to bare tree limbs and a wind that bites. But these other changes? They scare me because I don't know how long they will last. I can't get past my fear to enjoy their momentary presence because I fear they are the new normal - that my life will be this way forever.
In short, I do not embrace change because I have too little faith. Too little faith that the good, bad and hard things in my life are all for one season. I may not know the length of the season, but surely I've lived long enough to have seen that all things in this life are fleeting. Why not rush past the hard things, but sit in them and learn from them? Why can't I treasure the good times instead of trying to lock them into my memory, into my very bones, so that I can pull them back up when they disappear before my very eyes?
I've been trying to be more sensitive. More sensitive to and aware of my own emotions. More sensitive to the need to speak, instead of always listening. More sensitive to a call to act instead of merely watching. Today I realized I've been trying so hard to change that I'm not allowing my spirit to rest. Yes, I need to do more than just think. Yes, I need to act. But I also need to take care of myself in order to do these other things. I've been so busy trying to embrace change that I haven't tried to accept who I am. I've just been trying to change - to ease along the transformation.
It doesn't really work that way. A tree doesn't decide when it's time to change from green to gold. It doesn't decide when it's time to shed the gold and wait for spring's buds, either. It's just a tree. I'd like to one day know myself well enough to just be. To allow change to happen without fear, anxiety, trepidation. To just be.