Change. This topic has been on my mind quite a bit of late. It was good for my soul to revisit a writing from November 2013. It has been our tradition for many years to send a Thanksgiving greeting rather than Christmas cards. Quite a few years ago, around the time of the first of many spiritual awakenings, the Lord started putting a single word on my heart to meditate on for the coming year. Last year, the word was change. Here is what I wrote [modified slightly to publish].
Many years ago, Mom and I climbed to the top of one of the highest hills in my hometown to view the autumn colors. She and I talked about the seasons and how fall made her sad for the winter that follows. She preferred spring when new life sprouts and summer vacationers return ‘Up North.’ I see her point, and I know many who agree. I love the change of the seasons and enjoy the highlights of each one in Wisconsin; yet autumn remains my favorite.
I recently laid in bed one night listening to the wind in the trees. Each season brings a sound all its own. From the breeze through lush greenery to the crisp rustle of autumn foliage and now the cold air moving through the branches like a woodwind instrument. It is comforting to cozy up in the winter months with a fire crackling nearby. I embrace moments like these and try to shut down the busyness of the world as often as I can.
Whether I am in the garden in the summer, in my studio on a rainy day, or anywhere I can take a few moments to let my senses wind down, I love how peace and quiet hums in my ears like putting your ear up to a seashell. These quiet moments when you can hear your thoughts churn about without any influences from the world are precious and necessary. Unplug to recharge as often as you can. Isn’t it interesting that people function opposite of our devices?
As more changes in our home and in the world around us, I find quiet times are crucial to process the past to prepare for what is to come– not to worry for the future but to have contemplated the past enough to better respond to future happenings rather than merely reacting to them.
“Change is inevitable, they say. Struggle is optional.” ―Bailey Cates
I do love to experience new things and still appreciate balancing these invigorating highs with routine. I try to recollect traditions that we have enjoyed as a family, especially with the holidays approaching. I am delighted when my daughter asks if we will be doing this or that again this year. It assures me we are establishing roots.
Each year I pen a Thanksgiving correspondence as one of our traditions to begin the holidays. By the time the recipients read the letter, many hours have been invested to collaborate the card and letter they receive. It is my joy to think of each of our friends and family members during that collaborative time. I count each of them as a blessing of the past year. I smile to see new friends on our mail list. A spot in my heart melts to see a few who passed on. And my thoughts churn a bit more, realizing some friendships came to a fork in the road and went separate ways. During this time, I settle my heart and mind on the recollection of loved ones who have passed or friends who have gone away, reminiscing on memories we shared and the experiences that came from knowing one another. It is healing to realize the growth that has come from separation, too.
While change is inevitable and also necessary for developing our personalities, constant change is like uprooting a plant every few days and wondering why it fails to bloom. Because there is so much that has changed and continues to change in our world, this year seemed to be a good time to ponder the topic and focus on the positive things.
Our daughter started her first year of high school in a completely new system and culture. It was necessary to take a few steps back and put more gaps in our schedule during her first year so we could accommodate the unexpected. It was a good year and a time to embrace change and be as proactive as possible rather than letting changes overwhelm us.
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly,
but rarely admit the changes it has gone through
to achieve that beauty.” ―Maya Angelou
Over the years I have written about various stages of her life. Every time she moved up to a new level, we would see a new bud form that soon blossomed in full. At a young age, I learned to enjoy these times rather than seeing them as a passing of time (or aging). It is a relief to take a step back to merely observe at this stage of her life. It is like sitting in the back seat and enjoying the scenery. She has an interesting perspective on life and we enjoy the view from her vantage.
All in all, we have much to be thankful for once again. As I look back on where we have been, I delight that the Lord has certainly had His way with us. We are in a place that we couldn’t have dreamed of on our own. We give Glory to God for His grace in our life. There have been some sharp turns that have brought us to this place. It will be exciting to see what He has in store for the coming year!