Making Changes

IMG_1090 Good morning,

I know I had a draft of another post saved, but at the moment, it has disappeared. I actually when out for breakfast this morning and trying to eat something that is not processed or does not have sugar in it is quite the dilemma. The change in my diet and lifestyle is taking some significant discipline and thought, but as it is with most things, changes take time to manage. I can make the change, but for it to become “the norm” is something substantially different. I think this is especially true when it comes to our diets. We are so programmed to just eat. I am reminded that in my home growing up , at 5:00 p.m. it was dinner time. That time was almost sacrosanct. Furthermore, it did not matter if you might have snacked an hour before, you sat down and ate, and you cleaned up everything on your plate. No questions asked.

It is hard to believe that the beginning of the school year is barely three weeks away. Again, there will be changes: new students, new schedules, a new office, perhaps a new status . . .  each of these things constitutes some kind of change in my life. However, I am not the only one who experiences such a phenomena. We are constantly in a state of flux, or so it seems. What is constant? Is it that nothing is? I was told the other day”you’ve become stronger and wiser over the past few months . . .”. Those are significant words and they mean a lot to me. It is interesting sometimes what pushes us to be stronger and wiser, but most often it seems that such a change comes from adversity, from struggle. I am reminded of a sign that now hangs outside my office. “May your dreams be bigger than your fears and your actions greater than your words” (Anonymous). We are either held back because of those fears and paralyzed because we refuse to take control of our lives. I must admit that most of my life certainly a propensity of mine has been to worry about the welfare of others, to my own detriment. That might work for a while, but at some point it causes resentment and anger. I know this first hand. I have become more discerning about what I will do and how I will help as well as when and why. Even when I think back to college I was the person who would help others sometimes resulting in the creation of my own perilous circumstances. I has taken me a long time to understand, or perhaps more accurately believe, that I should make sure that I am cared for. It has always seemed selfish to put myself first. Now, lest you believe that I am turning into a self-centered jerk, please to not fear. That is not the plan. I merely am working on things that are necessary for my self care before always putting the other person first. I have been reminded by a number of people this summer that I need to do that. I have always understood the logic of it, but putting it into practice takes some work.

Speaking of changes, there are others for whom I care a great deal that are going through their own changes, and they are significant. I am always amazed at how time creates changes in us. How what we perceive at one point in our life evolves into something much different. The consequences of those changes can be painful. That is what I am witnessing at the present time and my heart hurts for all affected by the impending change. I understand the reasoning, at least to some extent, but that certainly does not make it any easier. There is also the reality of the unknown when changes are undertaken. The more extensive the change, the more likely that the unknown is more frightening. I think that is what I am seeing at this point. I am also affected by the change, but there is only so much I can do, or perhaps, even should do. I think it will be a lot of using my ears and eyes and sitting back and waiting. That is also not in my nature to sit back, but learning to do so will be another important lesson for me. In many ways it is analogous to the pebble dropped in the pond and the concentric circles that emanate from that initial circle. As I often remind people, we do not live in a vacuum. As much as it might be easier, there is no such possibility. I am also reminded of something I used to tell people when I did pre-marital counseling when I was a parish pastor. I would take these starry-eyed couples that being married would be the most difficult and time-consuming job they would ever have. In my smart-ass so of way, I would also ask them how she knew that this was whose underwear she wanted to pick up for the rest of her life? Or how did he know that she was the person he would love regardless of what she asked or how she might change? Almost without exception, they would stare back with wrinkled noses and say that I was not being very romantic. So much of life is not romantic. That is reality. I have written about my father and his wisdom many times. This is another example of that wisdom. He said that each person in a marriage needs to be willing to give 150%. He went on to explain that sometimes one of the individuals cannot give what he or she needs and the other needs to pick up the slack. Yet, if the same person always picks up the slack, there will be problems. After my divorce from Susan, he noted that we had not worked together well as a couple. At first I was a bit irritated at that comment, but when I pondered and analyzed, he was absolutely correct.

Well, what I have been reminded of this summer is, as noted, there seems to be very little that is constant. And yet, in spite of the changes, there are things that connect all the changes. There is a connecting thread if you will that connects us to our past. It is those connecting points,if you will, that help us understand who we are and what truly matters to us. It is interesting to me that I am still figuring that out. I am blessed that a couple people have really pushed me to become more introspective and search myself and figure out what I need to do to better care for myself. Again being pushed from a number of directions to do so has been a pretty strong impetus, but I am grateful for yet another learning moment. Merely having the opportunity is a gift. The other day I was over at the Decker’s house and I got to catch up with Grace a bit more. She was in a playful mood and so enjoyable to be around. Bantering with her was really a fun time. She is almost 16, and an entirely normal 16 year old in some aspects. She is much smarter than she believes and she is also kinder and more approachable than she wants others to know, but that is part of her figuring out who she is. I am sure glad I do not have to go back to those times in my life.

Another change was I got the courage to speak with someone I have considered speaking to for at least three years. I have to give Melissa some credit for that. She pushed me more than she might realize, but it was a gentle and caring push and it was what I needed. So the consequence was an enjoyable afternoon. Well, I could write paragraphs yet, but there is a certain point now where that would be procrastination because I have work to do. Time to get to it. Syllabi need to be changed; BOLT courses need to be changed; my life continues to change. Later this week I will be traveling and I will try to blog from that location. Another place: another change.

Thanks for reading.

Michael

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