If I looked around a room full of women and asked them if they liked change, I can’t picture very many of them raising their hands. Change is scary and unpredictable, and not very safe. You can’t really be prepared for it, and you don’t always know what to do with it. Most changes leave us feeling out of control. Yet if I asked that same group of women if they were looking forward to something, hoping for something, or wishing for something that they didn’t already have, I bet every single woman would raise her hand.
I have a theory about that.
We were laying in my son’s bed, my kids and I clustered around a library book. This particularly profound picture book told the tale of an ordinary family slowly getting their farm ready for winter: putting everything to sleep, finishing everything up, slowly saying goodbye to autumn and summer and all that those vibrant seasons had brought them, and preparing for the long winter ahead. And it got me thinking: perhaps the reason we fear change is not because things are moving too fast for us, but rather because we are moving too fast for them.
We often keep ourselves so busy, we can’t even tell what season we’re in. Every moment is filled with multitasking, fantasizing, or electronic distractions. But a farmer cannot be distracted from their season. A farmer must be intricately apart of each phase of life: whether they are carefully cultivating and watering during a growing season, or ceaselessly gathering and weeding during a robust harvesting season, someone who works the land must keep with the times.
They must bow to the changes of the seasons. But somehow, since many of us are disconnected from the earth’s dependable rhythms, we have begun to assume that we do not have to bow to the changes of the seasons.
If you think about it, we were made for change. The shifting of our lives, the methodic roll through the seasons, the phases of the moon – all have been programmed into us since the beginning of the world. That little farm family was present all through the “exciting” seasons of their lives (spring and summer), and this quiet present-ness enabled them to be ready for the more “dismal” seasons of fall and winter. When the colder, duller changes began knocking, they ran into them head-long, knowing that they had already received the fullest gifts that the previous seasons had to offer them.
They knew, without having to spend time worrying over it, that it was time for a different season. And they were ready to be a part of it.
So here’s my theory: we spend so much time wishing away our lives by looking forward to future “bliss” that when a change does come for us, we are terrified of losing what we have because we didn’t spend any time enjoying it.
We long for a committed relationship (and maybe marriage), and then when it happens, we panic and wish we were single again.
We can’t wait to have kids, but then as soon as we do, we’re completely overwhelmed and exhausted and we can’t help missing our time without them.
We envision our kids becoming a certain age so that we can do XYZ again, but then when they begin to show signs of growing up, we are filled with regret and nostalgia, looking at their young years through rose-colored glasses.
Whenever change occurs, we look back and think, “Where has the time gone, why did this happen so fast? I don’t want things to change!” Your old apartment. That dress you outgrew. Those friends you never see anymore. All are a result of change. All had their pros and cons. And all were meant to have an expiration date.
We cannot hope to change our fate, my friends; we are always standing in one season and on the cusp of falling into the next. Change comes for us all. But perhaps by being right where we are, and not wishing for anything to change at all, we will actually be strong enough to face whatever changes do come.
So that’s my theory. Change is only scary when we’re not willing to be a part of what we already have.