Change is part of life. The End. (Shortest blog post ever.) Kidding. For some reason this morning, that theme seems to be running through my head. Life is change. If it wasn’t, there would not really be a reason to exist. In a nutshell, without change, there would be no growth. And as we all know, that is a big part of why we’re here in mortal mode. (Ponder Adam & Eve and the Garden of Eden.) We are here to learn, to grow, and to change.
That being said . . . change is a hard thing. Again, consider the plight of Adam and Eve. They start out in a garden where everything grows without effort. It’s a beautiful place to live and there are no trials. Every day is the same—eat yummy food that grows like crazy on trees, plants, etc. Play with the cute animals, who are all tame and well behaved. Drink water that is pure. Sleep when tired, and start over. There are no illnesses, no bumps or bruises, it truly is a paradise. And everything stays the same. Continually. There is no change, no learning, no growth.
Enter satan. (I purposely don’t capitalize his name.) He stirred things up nicely. And suddenly, there was change. And with it came growth and learning. But it was a hard thing.
I can’t even imagine how difficult it was for Adam and Eve who were brave enough to decide that change was good. They went from having everything handed to them, to growing it all themselves. If they wanted to eat, drink, or sleep, they had to find a way to make that happen. The animals were no longer in nice mode. I’m sure that was a factor as well as some of them developed a real attitude problem. But in way of good news, each day was different.
Light speed to our day. Life is definitely in change mode—everywhere we look. So that must mean that we’re being given vast opportunities for growth and learning, right?! The problem is, sometimes I think we get a little overwhelmed by all of the changes that are taking place. There are days when we want to hide in a corner and dream of Eden.
Change is hard. I learned that principle at the ripe age of three when my parents brought home an interesting bundle of joy wrapped in a blue blanket. The arrival of my little brother shifted my world in an instant. I don’t remember much about all of that, but I was told that for a while, I pouted. I went from being an only child to becoming an older sister. It was an abrupt transformation that took a few months to absorb. But it was totally worth it! And I will be eternally grateful for the siblings I’ve been blessed with.
Years ago, I had the pleasure of being the youngest Primary President our ward had ever seen to that point in time. (This did not fill hearts with rapture. Most thought the bishop had lost his mind.) We saw a lot of change during the five years I served in that capacity. Among other things, I was the last Primary President to serve in the old, white church house that once existed in our small farming community. I was the first to serve in the new brick church building that we still use. It was a time of adjustment, growth, and learning. Times were changing and as my counselors and I did our best to make decisions that we felt would improve life in Primary land, we had numerous critics who pointed out that we were changing things . . . a lot. One of the changes came after an edict arrived from Salt Lake. We were to do away with the beloved Cub Scout Rodeo, a staple in our ward since the beginning of time. This did not go over well at all with the local population. The reason for the change was valid—liability was factored into the decision. Cub Scouts were getting injured periodically from this activity. So we were to discontinue this practice immediately, and promote a Cub Scout Carnival in its place. Can I just say that this announcement went over like a lead balloon?!
Feeling rather frustrated, I penned the following poem later on:
Make the Wind a Friend
“Change, change is not for me!”
Said an oak with dignity.
“Why it’s an outrage to even contemplate
“Thoughts of change that irritate!”
And so he thought and said each day,
Refusing to bend when the wind blew his way.
A young willow, observing the strain
Thought the oak was in great pain.
“Please, sir, but it seems to me
“That you are not a happy tree.
“Perhaps if you would try to bend,
“The wind could become a treasured friend.
“Offering a breeze when the day is warm . . .”
“I WILL NOT GIVE IN TO THE STORM!”
The oak tree bellowed with disgust
Thinking that his rage was just.
Ignoring the willow, he defied the wind
Never willing to rescind.
In time, the wind destroyed the tree,
A fierce gale turning it into debris.
Pride and fear inhibited the growth that might have been,
If the oak had welcomed the wind as his friend.
Cheri J. Crane
Ironically, I now find myself to be an oak—with the mindset of a willow. Interesting combination. For the most part, I like change. I know it’s essential to life, and yet I find myself dragging my feet somewhat when faced with changes that aren’t very fun. For instance, it’s a difficult thing to watch your parent age. You want things to go back to when they were active, enjoying life, and in good health. And yet, somehow you know that particular ship has sailed.
I absolutely love being a grandmother, but I find myself worrying over items like the kind of world my grandchildren are inheriting. I gape at fashions and trends that seem a bit over the top, and long for the days when leggings were called tights and they were worn under dresses and such. On the other hand, I seem to recall a time in history when leggings were all the rage, worn under tunics as swords were strapped to the side. So I guess it is true, if you wait long enough, different fashion statements become popular again.
Back to the topic at hand: Change! It is part of life. What we do with it is up to us, part of the agency thing. I do think it’s important to weigh each decision and ponder whether the change in question is a good thing for us, if there is a choice in the matter. At times, though, change is frequently forced upon us without our consent. Trials, health traumas, or loss arrive without warning, much like the small earthquake we experienced in our realm the other night. Sometimes things just happen and we have to decide how we will respond. And that often determines the kind of person we will become. (No pressure.)
So I guess what I’m trying to say in a rambling fashion is that change is part of why we’re here, and though sometimes that process isn’t very fun, in the long run, it does give us a chance to prove what we’re made of. (Is this when I drop the mike?)