That word is terrifying and exciting all at the same time.
As I grow and live I am finding that there is a part of me that craves change and yet there’s a part of me that just wants things to stay the same. The stay the same part is the little girl inside of me that doesn’t want to grow up and that just wants to be safe in my parents arms forever. This is that part of me that doesn’t want to face the big world full of responsibility and unanswered questions and things that make me hurt and the fact that things don’t always turn out the way you thought they would. I’ve realized over the last few weeks that I’m grieving my childhood. It sounds a bit funny when I write it out here but it took me a while to be able to figure it out. It took me a while to be able to actually identify that at the root of some of the things going on in my life is that I don’t want to let go of what was so good and so safe and so full of love and laughter and all the good things.
But things change.
My younger brother Greg is leaving in September to spend a year working at L’arche in Ottawa. After 18 years of pastoring at Wainfleet BIC my Dad will be transitioning into a leadership & recruiting role with the BIC Canadian Conference, which means big changes for both my Dad and Mom. My youngest brother Josh has one year left of high school, ONE more year! When did this happen? When did my cute little bubby become this tall, handsome young man who owns a car and has a job and is getting ready for college in a year? There’s a part of me that feels like I’m being left behind and perhaps it’s because I’m clinging so tightly to the little girl inside of me, the girl who just wants it to stay the same. I haven’t figured out what to do with this yet. Maybe one day I’ll wake up and the fear will subside?
Then there’s the other part of me; the part of me that wants new experiences with new people to learn from and new challenges to face. It’s the part of me that wants to expand my thinking and embrace responsibility and independence as if it was a familiar friend. The part of me that doesn’t want to be stagnant or caught in a rut but continually moving. I started reading one of Donald Miller’s books called ‘Through Painted Deserts’ and he writes about this very thing….
“I remember that sweet sensation of leaving, years ago, some ten now, leaving Texas for who knows where. I could not have known about this beautiful place, the Oregon I have come to love, this city of great people, the smell of coffee and these evergreens reaching up into a mist of sky, these sunsets spilling over the west hills to slide a red glow down the streets of my town.
And I could not have know then that if I had been born here, I would have left here, gone someplace south to deal with horses, to get on some open land where you can see tomorrow’s storm brewing over a high desert. I could not have know then that everybody, every person, has to leave, has to change like seasons; they have to or they die. The seasons reminding me that I must keep changing, and I want to change because it is God’s way. All my life I have been changing. I changed from a baby to a child, from soft toys to play daggers. I changed into a teenager to drive a car, into a worker to spend some money. I will change into a husband to love a woman, into a father to love a child, change houses so we are near water, and again so we are near mountains, and again so we are near friends, keep changing with my wife, getting our love so it dies and gets born again and again, like a garden, fed by four seasons, a cycle of change. Everybody has to change, or they expire. Everybody has to leave, everybody has to leave their home and come back so they can love it again for all new reasons.
I want to keep my soul fertile for the changes, so things keep getting born in me, so things keep dying when it is time for things to die. I want to keep walking away from the person I was a moment ago, because a mind was made to figure things out, not to read the same page recurrently. Only the good stories have the characters different at the end than they were at the beginning.”
I think this sums the other part of me up completely. These are the things I know to be true. Change can be a wonderful thing, wonderful and hard at the same time. Wonderful because things are new and different and your soul is ready for it and hard because it’s new and different and your soul remembers how it used to be.
You live in the tension. You choose to keep moving and trusting. I want to choose these things because I don’t want to expire. I don’t want to read the same page my whole life.
So maybe it’s going to take me a bit to let go but the change is in the journey, right?
All I know is that my childhood was wonderful and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world but I want to be able to live fully present in the here and now. I don’t want to miss the fantastic things happening in this new phase because I’m stuck in the old.
I have to keep changing, because this is God’s way.