Practice Makes Peace

Nothing endures but change. HeraclitusGoing out on a limb here and taking an informal poll. How many out there feel more comfortable with new situations and change than they do with the familiar and routine? Word on the street is not many. Over the years I have developed a love hate relationship with change and the moves necessary to successfully wrestle the giant bear that it is when it wanders in to my yard.

I am a creature of habit and enjoy routines. When changes interrupt my routine or infiltrate my daily life, I am always thrown a little. There are few days in which I have been spared the opportunity to flex my adapting to change muscles, especially in the past five years.

I get nervous when there are momentary lulls in our lives. I have learned not to get too comfortable with anything as it is, not because I am paranoid, but because I know changes lurk around every corner and can happen at any time. Being aware of the potential for change is different than worrying and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Note to self: add to the list of future blog topics. Whether the situation is self-created or unexpected does not always make adjusting to it any easier.

My wife begins a new full time job this week. Our routine is once again being altered. The past three years we have both worked from home and her being away all day will require an adjustment to the look of our household. Fortunately we are well versed in dealing with change and have honed our skills in the recent past. Our excitement about this new journey does not mitigate the mixed emotions I have about the new schedule that will be in place. I will miss her daily presence in the house and it will take me some time to get used to it.

Heraclitus said it best. “Nothing endures but change.” Jerk. It is true yet still a difficult pill to swallow for most of us. I find his take on the subject truly insightful and brilliant. Adjusting to deviations in our expected plans is a learned skill and can only be mastered with practice and patience. Having a healthy and strong sense of humor never hurts either. Easter just happened. For Christians, the holiday is the pinnacle and crowning moment of faith and ultimate reminder of the salvation God promises to His followers. The Easter story is beautiful, yet the journey to salvation is not all rainbows and gumdrops.

Suffering precedes the glory. See where I am going with this? Pain, sorrow, fear, and uncertainty play a leading role when changes are happening around us. The length of time these characters hang around can vary. Unfortunately, the only way to move past something is to go directly through it. There are no shortcuts here. Believe me, I have tried them all and have yet to find one that works. It is not a stretch to see the parallel that can be drawn between the passion story and our process of moving through changes in our lives. How often do we willingly submit to the changes and accept the outcome like Jesus did?

Admittedly, I do not always tackle the chore of change with a pep in my step or a smile on my face. For those with kids, my process often looks a lot like trying to put a pair of sneakers on a less than willing toddler. Worst task ever. Successfully trying to subdue a squirming body, contend with curled up toes, and quiet the defiant voices is not an easy task.

In the moments when life is hectic and we become overwhelmed with emotion it is hard to see the forest for the trees. Our instincts may be to fight the circumstances, ignore what may be happening, or just to give up. Resisting the temptation to run or battle the change demons is my definition of determination. Trusting and accepting the inevitability of change is a tall order when life feels chaotic. Do it anyway. If you listen carefully, you will begin to hear the subtle messages beneath the waves. Slow down. Breathe. Learn the lesson. Rise up.

In a perfect world, there would be designated “no change” days. How fantastic would that be? I could get behind a holiday like that. As lovely as this sounds, reality teaches us that we are all at the mercy of Heraclitus’ wisdom on a daily basis. Learning to accept, adjust, and eventually embrace change is an important skill that must become a priority in our lives if we hope to evolve and grow personally.

Here is the good news. If you put enough shoes on a squirming toddler you get pretty good at it. Practice not only makes perfect, but also creates peace. Each time we face challenges or changes, we learn perseverance. Perseverance is the predecessor to strength. Finding the strength to tackle the obstacles in our lives allows us to triumph and reminds us that we are capable of handling even the most difficult times in our lives.

Progress is rarely seen or felt in the midst of the chaos. More often than not, our growth and appreciation for our ability to come through the storms of life happen after the storm has passed. Every time we successfully navigate the waters of change in our lives, we learn valuable lessons about our inherent strength and gain insight and the courage to weather the next storm.

Who knew that being subjected to hours of children’s movies and music would come in handy as an adult? If you stop and think about it, there are many profound, yet simple messages found in the least likely of places. This song is the first place my mind goes when begin to feel overwhelmed or unsure of shifting circumstances. It is silly, but it helps. Peace and happy singing!

Going on a Bear Hunt

We’re goin’ on a bear hunt,
We’re going to catch a big one,
I’m not scared
What a beautiful day!
Oh look! It’s some long, wavy grass!
Can’t go over it,
Can’t go under it,
Can’t go around it,
Got to go through it!

Full Going on a Bear Hunt Lyrics