After flooring contractors moved everything from half our house to lay wood floors, my husband and I decided to keep what we no longer need, want, or use. In the process, I held examples of how much change has happened over the years. Some change happened in the ordinary stages of life. Some we noticed at the time, but much of it we didn’t. Some change was intentional, responsive, and creative, expanding life and stretching into new experiences. And some was embarrassing.
I looked in horror at clothes I’d worn until they appeared on What Not to Wear. I gave away curtains that no longer match our decor and affirmed that I like our current palate better. I read my old sermons and compared them to recent ones. I held pictures of our sons grinning in Speedos at a high school water polo game and smiled as I pictured them now happy and creatively challenged as adults. I tossed 3-1/2″ computer discs, wondering why I keep so many vestiges of the past that are no longer useful.
“Change happens,” I thought, as I looked around. “Embrace it, incorporate it, and keep going.”
It is up to us whether we lean into change and creatively engage with it, or we deny its impact on us and our ability to affect it. Choosing not to change in positive ways is a certain outline for disaster and unhappiness. If we stay frozen, inevitable changes harden our spirit and life and shrink our space. The choice is ours.
Did you ever build a go kart? Leaning into change is like that: we turn random wood, pipe, tires, wire and rope from the garage into a marvelous invention of freedom. It’s like making pottery: we moisten our hands, spin our potter’s wheel and shape bowls and pitchers from what had been just a mound of clay. It’s like making a quilt: we arrange pieces of fabric we already have and stitch them together for a new purpose.
In life we straddle a hinge from which we look back at change already navigated and forward to change yet to come. If we stretch our arms in both directions we discover we have room to move. Our mind and life muscles flex to incorporate new ways of being and doing, of relating and living, if we encourage them to do so.
I’m glad I ditched some of those clothes I used to wear. Some of my sermons were better the second time I preached them. My sons no longer wear Speedos (that would be scary!). Clean closets and less clutter gives my husband and me space to consider new possibilities.
Change happens. I have the evidence. It can be good. Embrace it. Claim it. Lean into. Dance with it. Create with it. Make it your own.