I’m not a person who likes change. I typically like to keep my world neat, orderly and controlled. When things veer off of the path I had intended, I tend to feel lost and anxious. Years of therapy have helped me gain insight into my need for such control, and I like to believe I’m much more flexible that I once was…but it still rattles me when things don’t go as planned. This is true for all aspects of my life. Recently my life has done alot of “veering” and I’m beginning to emerge on the other side and it’s not looking like such a bad thing after all. You know how when life throws you a curve ball people tend to say “Everything happens for a reason,” “you don’t understand this now but you will” or “you’ll be stronger after all this is over” …or even the oldies “time heals everything” and “you’re better off.” I’ve realized those sayings are mainstays of our proverbial pep talk for a reason…they are true. So true. It seems my life has taken many twists and turns over the years that alot of people, especially myself, didn’t quite understand. But looking back now…at all of the chaos and crises…I’m able to see how each led me exactly where I was intended to be…or led me to something that would eventually better my life in some way. I’ll give an example now…
I had the honor and privilege of being accepted to The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. A prestigious, private, liberal arts university. I went, I stayed a semester, I left. I couldn’t even tell you what reason I gave myself or others for leaving. It wasn’t that I couldn’t cut it academically…I just knew it wasn’t the right fit for me. I went next to the University of South Alabama. Looking back now, my reasons for going there were stupid and immature and could’ve ended badly…very badly. But one very good thing came out of my experience there and that was a friendship with a girl who came to be a very big part of my life and, at the time, was dating a guy that went to The University of Montevallo! I visited Montevallo and instantly knew it was where I was intended to be…beautiful, small, liberal, historic, personal. I would never have even considered Montevallo in high school…it was too close to home and I wanted as far away from my mother as I could get …but life has a funny way of leading you back where you belong eventually. And as most of you know…Montevallo became a big part of my story. I completed my Bachelors there…went on to get my Masters there…and made friendships there that have been my ROCK for 10 years now. I won’t go on and on with all of the reasons why I love Montevallo or what my experiences there have meant to me…although I could…but I have a bigger point to make….
so there’s example number 1…why would I leave Sewanee after working so hard to get in…because it wasn’t right for me…it wasn’t part of my plan.
When I bought the house I live in now, I never intended to live here alone…but here I am and it’s okay. I think it’s part of human nature…well at least this human’s nature…to always want to have everything figured out, to feel certain we know who we are and where we are going. And just when I get to a place where I think I know all of that, life throws me a curve ball and then I’m the one getting the pep talk rather than giving it (as is usually the case). But those times lead to growth in our lives and discovery of our own journey. They open our eyes to things and humble us a bit. And after this most recent period of change I would definitely say I have been stunned, surprised, and yes…humbled. I have learned a great deal about myself and others in the process. Most importantly I have learned that the values and principles that I live by are precious to me…more so than I realized….and I want to always seek to surround myself with people who also operate on similar values and principles.
Although this house has been a huge source of stress for me lately…I feel it was meant to be mine…and (this might sound hokey), in a way, has become a metaphor for my own growth and change. It too has alot of history…it has experienced alot of change over the years…some not-so-pretty change…but it’s evolving into the best version of itself. Little by little, piece by piece, we are finding mistakes others have made, making repairs….restoring. This house, this neighborhood, has given me stability that I have never had. Every day that I lace up my tennis shoes and head out for a run, I am STILL (even after 2 years here) amazed at how lucky I am. Yes I need a new roof, yes I had to replace the AC unit, yes the plumbing has some quirks…but I am blessed. Every house in this neighborhood is unique, has a history all it’s own and tells a story. This area attracts a certain special type of people too…and the friends that I’ve made here have enriched my life in so many ways…even though they may not even know it. Perhaps most people don’t see things like houses the way I do…and perhaps I’ve gotten a bit deeper than I intended with this blog..but I suppose my overall point was that I’ve learned change is good. Even though, in the midst of it, we fight it…we don’t understand it…and unfortunately don’t always allow it to run it’s course. Too often I think people become so afraid of change, or uncomfortable with it, that they regress and they aren’t able to experience growth and change that was intended for their lives. I see this alot at work and it saddens me.
Sometimes we don’t even like to see change in others. Maybe it’s because it forces us to look at things that might need to be changed in our own lives…or it confuses us or messes up the way we make sense of things around us. We don’t want to look for deeper meaning behind things when others are changing…we want them to stay the way they are…to fit into the role that made sense for us. If we can let go of that, I think it will lead to alot less conflict, a greater understanding of eachother, alot less judging and a little more peace.
So here I am…on the other side of some big changes. Some big changes which, at times, I didn’t know if I would survive or even knew how to navigate. But I did in my own way. This wasn’t the first big crisis and it won’t be the last. But I’ve learned some basic things about how to handle change that will make it just a teeny bit easier the next time. I hope.