A View of Change

We seem to expect that 'what is – will be'. Expecting our current daily life will continue unchanged – even though we know better. If 'what is' fulfills us – we believe these good times will go on. If 'what is' is a troubled time, we believe these troubles will continue. When change is gradual, we only notice in retrospect: "I remember when he was just starting to walk, and now he's graduating from college!" But life's changes can often be abrupt – suddenly plunging us into the grief of loss or the chaos of the unfamiliar. We are caught unaware and unprepared for such changes. I have always believed that "All of life's greatest disappointments are due to unrealistic expectations".

As I enjoy each moment of my daily life, I try to remember that 'what is – will change'. Life is growth and change, and although slow changes are easier to adapt to, the quantum-leap sudden changes are important to be prepared for. The way I prepare for, respond to, and even initiate change is to have faith in the eventual balance of the old and the new. We may all know – in our heads – that when one door closes, another one opens. And the room to which the new door opens can be a brighter and more delightful room than the one we left. But first we need to deal with that dark corridor while we search to find the door that is opening. Then we need to go through the new door to the frightening unknown. And then beyond the open door we need to become accustomed to the unfamiliar. And as we travel from one room to another during our ever-changing lives, we may develop a tendency to distance ourselves – to remain aloof and not become too attached – because we know we are just passing through. That's one way to deal with change. Let me suggest another.

I try to embrace each new room with joy and to keep myself open to the people and the adventure – to connect as fully as possible – and to thoroughly live each moment. Whether the door to this room closes by events beyond my control, or whether I choose to move on and close the door to seek the next room, I know that 'what is – will change'. Yet by living in the present with all the energy I can, I can take much more with me, and can grow to be much more after leaving this room than I was when I first came to the door. Every time I enter the dark corridor seeking the next open door, I find that my life experiences have changed me and have prepared me for new doors to rooms I could never have entered before.

Each of us causes changes in the world and in the people we touch along the way. I am ever-grateful for the growth and change that enables me to be who I am, and who I am has been impacted by each of the people who have passed through my life, and by all of the events I have experienced.

I know the pain of loss – of losing someone who has left this life, of losing a daily contact with friends who have moved on, of losing the comfortable familiarity of a life suddenly uprooted and abruptly changed. My automatic, natural, self-centered reaction is grief and pain. My next step is to look outside of myself for a sense of Balance in life and it's changes. I think about how fortunate I am to have experienced the joy of knowing and loving each person who has touched my life. And I can do this – not only after they have left – but while enjoying them in the present. This is true for the people and the daily life circumstances that I can enjoy fully, while expecting change. Nothing and no one is ever really lost to us; the experience and impact is with us and has already changed us.

The only thing we can always have and can cling to is our own ever-changing self. It makes sense then, to cherish who we are, and to become who we will need. We can grow from everyone and everything we experience, maturing to connect more with the world and people outside of ourselves. In this way we can come to appreciate the miraculous and dynamic force of Life – of growth and change.

By BobiJo   1997   (Updated 2002)