A new season is upon us…in more ways than one. Lately, I keep hearing so many people discussing the recent changes they’re facing and every conversation is laced with angst and anxiety. I can’t count the number of parents dealing with first-day of school jitters (not the kids, mind you, the parents) or the child leaving for college. I’ve talked to people changing jobs, losing jobs, moving, staying, transferring, downsizing, and the list goes on. People seem to be saying goodbye to life as it once was and hello to something entirely different. Yes, it’s the dreaded word-eek, shudder and even stutter…CCHHHAAANGE!
As you well know, I’m not a fan. I am a creature of habit or habitat, whatever the case may be. I have my apple cart and I don’t like it upset. I’ve written a great deal about change since it seems to be the ongoing theme of my life the past few years. I’ve adjusted my sails to these unsettling winds and have done so begrudgingly. When people tell me to “go with the flow” or “roll with the punches”, I want to throw a few punches! They don’t know who they’re talking to! I don’t know the reasons why but I’ve never liked surprises. I’m sure that Freud could tell me why: I read the last chapter of a book first, have someone tell me the ending to a movie before I watch it, read a magazine from back to front, avoid any suspense novel or movie, and beg my family to never throw me a surprise party. Perhaps surprises, however good they may be, can be stressful or leave one feeling unprepared or taken off-guard. I don’t really have an answer, other than sameness and predictability equals a level of comfort.
Now that I’m done with my arm-chair psychoanalysis, I can move on! Knowing how to walk in the moon bounce of change is something we all have to learn. How do we move and keep our balance? It’s like trying to live in a fun house where you look into the mirror but nothing is the same; it looks like you but it’s all distorted. There have been so many times I’ve looked at my life and said, “This looks like my life but it doesn’t feel like my life and something is different; I feel like I’m wearing someone else’s clothes and they don’t fit.”
I recently shared a conversation with a mom sending her daughter off to college. Since I’ve done that, I was the ultimate expert! I ended the conversation reassuring her that she would find a “new normal”. These wise words were given to me along with, “you’ll find a new equilibrium too.” What, huh? A new what? I could understand the normal part but equilibrium really threw me off…no pun intended! Normal is defined as conforming to a usual, standard, type or custom. More importantly, normal also means healthy. Equilibrium, however, is defined as a mental state of calmness and composure; a state or situation in which opposing forces or factors balance each other out and stability is attained.
After awhile, I understood what she meant. When changes occur in our lives, our natural tendency is to focus on the vacancy instead of the ways to fill it. It doesn’t mean we ignore the changes, we just find a new approach to dealing with them hence, “the new normal”. When we determine to be determined to strike a healthy balance between what was and what is, then stability can be attained hence, “the new equilibrium.” It sounds very “self-help” but it’s really a spiritual principle. Take a look into the notable passage of Ecclesiastes 3 which refers to everything having it’s time. Verse 1,”To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.” As we continue to read, we find that each season has a cycle that we cannot control or change. What can we do when left with this helpless conclusion? Acknowledge it, receive it, and believe that there is some benefit in this change and then, consider that God is the one constant moment in the momentous. I’ve clutched onto His unchanging hand through many changes that I’ve initially seen as disruptions. Later, I’ve discovered the divine order in these times and in so doing, have seen that steady hand guide me through and over some rough terrain.
Given the right attitude, change can be good and change can be God. It’s up to us to be sensitive enough to know the difference. “With every gain, there is a loss and with every loss, there is a gain.” We can find purpose and growth in this “new normal”. We can find stability and safety in this “new equilibrium”. We can find what we need in finding who we need. I don’t need a Freud to do it, I just need a Father.