“The only thing that is constant is change.”
This quote is not at all comforting to me. If I’m being completely honest, it creates worry and anxiety for me (mixed with a little bit of excitement on occasion). This Socrates quote: “The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new,” is a little more helpful to me when it comes to accepting change (or the anticipation of change). The book about change called Who Moved My Cheese? is also somewhat helpful in helping me cope with change, but it also doesn’t completely put my mind at ease. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone right now in feeling stressed and overwhelmed by constant change.
I’ve greeted young families arriving at church the past few Sundays with my typical “Good morning! How are you doing?” The consistent responses I’ve received are: “We are good, but we are SO busy,” “We aren’t doing well, I’m so overwhelmed,” “I don’t know how I’m doing because I haven’t had two minutes to stop and think all week!” I’m pretty sure my response each time to those comments is: “Me too! I’m so sorry,” “I understand completely,” and “I’m so glad you made it here this morning,” or maybe even just an “Amen!”
I remember over the summer when parents were wishing that school would start so our kiddos would have something scheduled, somewhere to be, and then we, as parents, could get a little break and a little rest from all of the summer entertainment and activities. Well, here we are, this is what we wished for…schedules and routines. However, I don’t think what we got is what we all had in mind. I don’t think we wished for weeks of pouring rain that would turn our baseball games, football games, band competitions, and other scheduled outdoor activities into back to back, overlapping events crammed into the first dry and sunny day of the season. I don’t think we wished for days upon days of energetic children crammed into classrooms and homes because the rain made outdoor play an impossible option for energy release. I don’t think we wished for a fall with weeks of flooded streets, leaky roofs, things piling up at work, and juggling illnesses (our own illnesses, our kids illnesses, and the needs of our aging parents). I think we just simply wished for a routine, a schedule, and a bit of consistency (at least that is what I wished for).
So, here is our fall. A fall full of schedules, routines, and consistency that is anything but consistent. A fall full of last minute schedule changes. A fall full of chaos. A fall full of busyness. A fall full of trips to a grocery store that is being remodeled and all I want to do is to be able to walk in and get bread, cereal, and milk and leave without traveling down each aisle and asking three people where to find the bread. For us, we also had a fall full of learning how to do an early morning high school schedule for the first time and learning how to do late night high school band (both were very big changes for us).
I know I’m not alone in feeling the weight of the constant change in our lives. I know I’m not alone in wanting just one “normal” week of schedules and routines (I still don’t think I’ve seen a “normal” week yet). In the spirit of the helpful quotes and books on change, I’m doing my best to take it all in stride. I’m anticipating change. I’m doing my best to embrace change. I’m looking forward instead of longing for how things were, and I know that many of the parents around me are doing the same thing.
I don’t have any magic words of wisdom. I don’t have any perfect solutions for embracing change. I’m being completely vulnerable and honest in saying that I’m still figuring it out for myself right now. I will say that the only thing that has NOT changed at my house is that I am at church for worship every Sunday morning. There are some Sunday mornings that my husband and son do not come to worship because they are at a baseball tournament or a Boy Scout camp out, however, they worship online via Livestream from wherever they are (or they worship on Livestream later in the day when they return home). The reality is that there are not a lot of constants in our lives right now, change is everywhere and it’s impacting everything. I’m grateful for a church with Livestreaming capabilities so that we can make sure that worship IS a constant for us each week. Everything around us may change, but making time for our connection with God will not change, and that consistency, through all the changes, brings me more comfort than anything else could.