Change is hard. It just is. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a superficial/minor change, or a change of your whole core value belief system….it. is. hard. And, it sucks. There’s fear, lots of fear, of “what will be”, the unknown , the “never before traveled” paths that we are faced with in life.
When we were first married, almost 15 years ago, we had our first argument as a married couple. We had just gotten back to Pittsuburgh from our honeymoon, picked up our car on the way from the airport and drove the 12 hours back to college for Iris to finish up her senior year. We pulled into our nice, but cheap, government subsidized apartment, unloaded the car, and I decided to take a shower. The full bath was right at the top of the stairs, literally the first thing you saw when you walked in our front door. Not only was the bathroom the first thing you saw, more importantly was the bathtub and shower. After taking my shower, I did just what I had always done the first 22 years and 11 months prior to that moment….I left the shower curtain open.
I realize what I had done…at least now I realize it. And, to many of you, you may also realize what I had done. But for some of you who don’t, let me gently explain the lesson I learned. Our shower wasn’t the prettiest. Closing the shower curtain after the shower not only blocked the sight of the not so pretty shower from the two of us who lived there, but it also blocked it’s view from all the wonderful guests that would be coming into our home, either planned or simply popping by. Plus, lest we forget, it would keep said brand new shower curtain, from mildewing prematurely.
Again, I now realize that this is an important thing in general, but especially to my co- adventurer in life. But at that time, it wasn’t a value of mine. Therefore, an argument ensued and, well, it just wasn’t a grand night. I didn’t/don’t always close the curtain as I am human after all. But after this moment, I did become more aware that there was someone else in the house. There was someone else who valued a lot of the same things I did, but also had a higher value on things that I didn’t. I started to value those things higher than I had before. Yes, sometimes it was more logical to value those things higher (like mildew on a shower curtain), but with other things, it was simply because I valued Iris much more therefore I wanted to value the things that she valued. This is still a lesson I am learning, at least I hope I am still learning it.
I often wonder if change is difficult for everyone. I think it is. I could be wrong, and please feel free to push back if I am, but I think big changes are easier to take when they are abrupt as opposed to them taking a long time, and smaller changes are easier to take if they are taken over time as opposed to happening abruptly. For example, if I desire my kids to not use the same knife for peanut butter as they do for jelly, I can repeatedly tell them, show them and model over time. They will eventually learn and make the change. But, for those I know that have had cancer, when the doctor first told them such shocking news, it was a “well, this is our new reality, so let’s figure out how to live in it” kind of reaction.
In neither scenario was change easy…but it seems that there are different ways of accepting and handling change. Wish I knew them all and would accept them, but, again, I am human after all. Change is hard. My life is in a big time of change. And though I am more willing to accept it, it is still very hard.
We as followers of Jesus, or the new proposed term, #commongoodchristian, are living in a world that is changing. This change has been happening for millennia, literally. But I believe the ugliness and power of this change became very apparent in this past election. The conversations (and I do hope they turn into conversations and not the mud slinging yelling they have been thus far) will not end today, nor with the inauguration, but for many years to come. In many ways, the American church is at a place where the Church has already been heavily engaged in for decades, if not centuries, in other parts of the world. It just seems that we in the States are getting much more of the spotlight then others have.
But politics aside, we are in a time of change, transition, adjustment, reconstruction, metamorphosis, or whatever you desire to call it, that we’ve never been before. I would much rather call it growing pains. They don’t feel well, they hurt, but they are a part of growing up. They are a part o your body preparing for it’s next stage of life. My hope is that we can look at this time in the same light. Not something that is simply uncomfortable and therefore we need medicine to soothe us. Jesus is the great healer, and if we truly believe that, we also must accept the truth that he does not heal everyone of every disease. This is not only a part of the fallen world we live in, but it is also a way of learning about him in ways that we may not apart from those aches and pains.
Growing pains are not things to fight against, nor are they things to soothe. We accept them as part of life and growing up…our body adjusting to the new reality that we are living in and preparing for the next season. Perhaps this time in Church history is the same- not something to be soothed or fought, but something to simply accept as what it is and a place that we can learn something about ourselves and God. Listening instead of speaking, being instead of doing, becoming aware instead making others aware of us….what would this time in history look like?
Every time God’s chosen people became comfortable, a massive change occurred and there were uproars. Is this no different? Maybe we’ve gotten too comfortable, to apathetic, to entitled. Change isn’t comfortable and it isn’t fun, usuallly. But it does bring us to a point of questioning why we do what we do and what will we do next. Maybe stopping and listening will help us to see that we are allowing something far dangerous than mildew begin to grow in our hearts and in the world God has called us to go to.
So, why do we do what we do? And, what will we do next? How will we behave, engage the world and engage the one right next door to us?
be blessed today