January 16, 2014

Happy Birthday to my sister.

Change. Change can have such a bitter taste. Like that cheap coffee in the hospital waiting rooms, or a gas station’s left-from-yesterday-coffee, there’s a bitter aftertaste. More for some than for others. For me, change has never been very welcome; partially because it requires energy – more energy than I want to use. When things stay the same, there is no moving mentally, emotionally, nor physically to accommodate it. At the age of 60, I readily recognize that change is a necessary part of life; and in fact it can accommodate, facilitate, recreate, and do all those other modern moves that keep up with life for us. Without change in my own daily life, I won’t be ready for the changes outside my inner circle. But sometimes, just sometimes, it is not good. Admit it modern world, not all the changes have been for our good. I don’t wish to be a negative person. On the contrary, I am very positive when I say that I like something, and I like it to stay as it is. I look at several situations in a way that one may accuse me of being negative, when all the time, I am being positive about the opposite of what will be, if changed. See? So what has my apple cart teetering? Note that I did not say ‘turned over’, just teetering. Who has moved my cheese this time (to quote a well-known book title written by Spencer Johnson and Kenneth Blanchard) and why was my lip quivering?

My little sister said as we returned from her birthday lunch, “I need to tell you something”; and she said it very gravely. It caused a wave through my stomach and several scenarios to blow through my mind – was her marriage ok? was a child or grandchild in trouble? was one of my kids about to throw me for a loop? was , was, was… Well, I guess she knew how to manage my expectations so that the real issue wouldn’t be so shocking. The news is that they are going to sell their house, about a mile from us, and move to the city life. Convenience, in general, is the reasoning. But I like having them near me. I like, no I adore, her very large shady, peaceful backyard and all its gorgeous landscaping. That’s been my sister’s house for too many years for me to imagine her anywhere else. Where will I borrow a cup of sugar, or where will I drop by for a dip in the pool; where will I run in to give the kids a hug and a batch of cookies? Oh wait a minute, town is where I work. It’s where our dad lives; where we go to church; and it’s only seven or eight miles from here. Oh, ok, some change is good. But I had to sweeten that bitter cup of coffee, and pour in some cream. I actually handled it pretty well. I took her hand and said, “Change is part of life – we both have learned that! Of course it hurts me to think of you moving, but thank Goodness, you aren’t telling me you’re packing it all off to Florida or some such far off place!!” We laughed, and I look forward to helping her select things for a new house someday. And I’m reminded that God has worked on me a great deal about this change thing. Several years ago, my brother-in-law tried to talk her into this move, but she wasn’t going for it, and I bawled and squawled when she told me he wanted to move. Since then, I’ve been through more difficult transitions, changes, dreams on the edge of dissolving, and with each one God has refined me, chiseled out little receptacles, whereby I can accept and live more in harmony with change. We all have those unique traits that need tweaking in order to survive – mine was change acceptance. True, God still has much work to do on me, but I am better able to help Him with this one. Now I am able to see the positive side. I am thankful for all the years I have had my sister and her family right in my back door, to borrow and lend, to cry, to rejoice, to be a part of her family. How many can say that? And it is exciting to think of their building a new home, of the convenience that it will bring for her trying times, and that she will still be so near. As I write, I realize that I am using the relocation issue as a bucket to hold all the tremendous changes that have occurred in her family’s life, and the lack of it other than aging, in my own. These are not things easily written, nor spoken, and so it was good to have an avenue by which I could harp a bit on the subject of change. All we need to take away from this is in Ephesians 2:10: ” For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” HIS workmanship, not my own. If not for change, how could He make me better?! His knowledge of me is what will sustain me throughout life’s changes. So, since change is always here, ugly or not, to be dealt with, I call on the Lord to equip me that I may in turn be a comfort to another who may not be dealing well with their particular changing times. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties”, Psalm 139:23. How wonderful that God has given me so much time and circumstance to become a “changed person”, in order that I may accept the bigger changes of aging, and such. “Oh Lord you have searched me and known me. You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. You comprehend my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. …Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.” Psalm 139: 1-3 and  vs 6. Wow. It even blew the great king David’s mind. Some things never change.