Keep the Change

The split-level house smelled of cigarette smoke, Chanel No. 5 and burnt cinnamon rolls. It was the home where my grandparents lived. Familiar. Comfortable. It was the house where I had celebrated every Christmas, birthday and fourth of July since I could remember.

Predictable. Safe. I was in the bathroom and I didn’t want to come out. It was the summer of 1987.

Standing there that morning, I remember wishing I could crawl under the sink and not come out. Maybe they’ll just leave without me. I can stay here. Under the sink. With Grandma.

But I knew that couldn’t happen. Because we were moving from our small Indiana town where I had lived all my life, where my parents had met and gone to high school, where our cousins and aunts and grandparents lived. We were leaving all things right and familiar and heading to Iowa, the land of all things different.

One last trip to the bathroom, and it was time to make the 6 hour drive to what would be our new home. I was 11. And I didn’t want to go.

And so began my personal life-long journey of learning to accept change. I’ve been thinking a lot about change lately. Not even the worst kind of change, like from divorce or sickness or death. Just regular, life-stage change.

It isn’t as scary as it was that day in my grandmother’s bathroom. But it is still definitely not my favorite. I find myself looking at women who are pregnant for the first time or high school seniors or friends who are preparing to move far away and I think about all that is ahead for them. But also unknown, unpredictable days. Long days. Lonely days.

I tend to want to avoid the long and lonely, the unknown and unpredictable. I find unhealthy comfort in believing in the illusion that I have control over my future. But the more I live, the more I see that not only do I not have control, but I don’t think I want to. It’s too much pressure.

Though the days can be lonely and crazy-scary to anticipate, they are also dependent days. They are days of knowing that I can’t so He must, days of resting in His provision because that’s all I really can do anyway. And many times, days of waiting for all of those words that I know are true to become true in my experience.

Sometimes I wish character and patience and growth could happen without all the change. So far I haven’t found a successful way to avoid it. But I’ll keep you posted.

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