Monday, February 17, 2014

Change Courts

Several years ago my family invented a new way to play tennis. Since we're silly people on occasion, and not gifted athletes, we found it entertaining to switch courts if the ball bounced out of bounds. We would simply move on to the next court and try the game using a different playing field as we chased the tennis ball. Changing courts added a dash of excitement to what would have been a boring time of retrieving the ball each time it bounced out of the appropriate zone.

I'm sure we all have moments when we feel a sense of security from remaining in a comfort zone. We get used to things being a certain way and we are comfortable with that. Then one day, change forces us to explore boundaries we had no intention of experiencing, and to adapt to a new state of being.This change can be the result of physical or emotional challenges, job relocation, or perhaps the loss of a loved one. Regardless of how it happens, all of us will find ourselves "changing courts," whether we want to, or not.

I teach a teen Sunday School class and this month we're focusing on the Plan of Salvation--the knowledge of who we are, why we're here on earth, and where we are going . . . someday. In preparing these lessons, I probably learn more than anyone else. I've found myself pondering some of my heroes from the Bible lately, people like Joseph (most people add "who was sold into Egypt," to clarify who we're talking about). So, consider how life must've seemed to Joseph. He was a favored son of a loving father--his life was pretty much mapped out in what was a common way to live back in the day. Then he found himself in a different court--quite literally. His own brothers, people I'm sure he loved, sold him into slavery. He became a servant in a culture that was alien to anything he had ever known before. To make matters worse, he eventually landed in prison, accused of something he didn't do.

I'm sure it was a difficult time for Joseph. For a while, he may have figured his entire life was ruined. Most of us know how his story turned out. He didn't give up. He made the best of difficult circumstances and despite challenging obstacles, he managed to flourish. Joseph blossomed into a great leader among the Egyptian people and later saved his own family from starvation during a drought. Joseph the caterpillar became Joseph, the mighty butterfly--all because of dramatic changes that propelled him into an environment of growth and learning.

I suspect that is one of the main reasons we're here in this mortal world. We weren't sent here to find a cozy corner and drift along in a state of perpetual bliss. We were sent here to gain a body (some of us aren't overly thrilled with the model we inherited, but I digress) and to prove ourselves. At one time, before we came to this world, we knew that we would be tested, challenged, and stretched. I wonder if we fully understood how painful that process would be on occasion. ;) In my own life, I have come to realize that the best educational moments have been a direct result of challenging trials that forced me to make difficult choices and to stretch myself beyond what I thought I was capable of achieving.

Someday, when I change courts permanently, and I'm reviewing the video of my life (something I'm sure will be a combination comedy/action adventure story) I will probably more fully appreciate the lessons that were learned along the way. Hopefully I will have progressed from caterpillar mode into the butterfly I hope to eventually become. Pulling myself out of comfort zones and exploring other courts will be a big part of that process, I'm sure. Consider this--water that sits in a quiet pool becomes stagnant. The best water is the kind that has been purified through motion. Change is often hard, but it is the launching pad that will propel us into who we are meant to be.


Audrey said...

Cheri, you are so wonderful with words! I am always inspired when I read your posts. Thank you, and keep writing.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Thank you, Audrey. =) I appreciate your encouraging support. Have a great day!