I’ve thought about change quite a bit recently. In March, my spouse and I welcomed the arrival of our first child. As such, sleep patterns have been upended; the realities of travel have taken on a new light; and our schedules, in particular, have seen seismic shifts. On the days it is just my daughter and I at home, for example, it is a good day if I found the time to have brushed my teeth by noon. Everything has changed.
Most of the time, when we can choose change in our lives, we resist it. But sometimes change is thrust upon us, and we have no choice but to accept it. Rather than lamenting in that moment, I wonder, what might we learn if we pause and look around? As my life has changed with the addition of parenthood to my list of responsibilities and privileges, I have come to see that my capacity to love has grown. I did not know my heart could be permanently melted by someone so small. I have a different view of what is most important in my life and what is the best use of my time. I understand much better the joys of life and joy’s difference from happiness; I might not be happy when my daughter is wailing, but it is still joyful to hold that crying child in my arms before she outgrows them.
If I had resisted these changes to my personality, my schedule, and my very heart, I would have missed so much of this. But in opening myself to these changes and allowing myself to be molded by a new and unfolding world, I am able to be transformed into someone who is more loving, more compassionate, and even more joyful. Perhaps the past year has taught us something similar.
I find the lessons of change I am learning are also helpful in faith. Throughout the story of the Bible, God is constantly moving in different ways so that the people of God might grow in their capacity to share and to be God’s unchanging love, justice, and mercy in this world. When rigid and closed to the ever-unfolding Spirit of God, the people miss this. When open to change, the people grow and the world is better off.
Each day, be it with faith or as a parent, I have learned that I should be open to change. I should be flexible. I should wonder greatly and let God surprise me. I would encourage you to do the same. We all have many ways we might need some transformation. We all have much to learn. We also each have a lot of God’s love to give. Sometimes, however, it takes a little change to break our hearts open to that love and to the ability to share it with others. But I have found that is a change well worth embracing.
Presbyterian Church (USA)
Member of CANAAC Steering Committee