Education

Embracing the Constant of Change

The only constant in life is change.

-Heraclitus

When I was 24 years old and one year into my marriage, my husband and I moved away from everything we knew and ventured out on our own. We didn’t move to a new continent or even a new state, but we moved far enough away from our family and friends that we had to start over. We thought we were so grown up, but looking back, we were just babies.

I really struggled with the move because I missed my family and my close group of friends. They were a huge part of my identity and I didn’t know who I was without them. We moved away almost twenty years ago (don’t do the math!) and I still have the same best friends I had in high school. I still love spending time with my family. So much has changed in those twenty years, and thank goodness some things haven’t changed that much at all.

Frequently we would drive back to Grand Rapids to visit friends and family, and for years I would bawl my eyes out as we drove away from my parents house to head back north. I will never forget a particular conversation with my parents during one of those weekends. They said, “Ally, don’t ever move back to Grand Rapids for us. For all we know, you would move back here and then we would move to Belize to retire. You never know how things might change.”

That conversation stuck with me because it is a metaphor for most things we go through in life. Sometimes we fight tooth and nail to either hang on to what we currently have or to go back to a time when things were better, when in reality we can never go back and things never stay the same. And, when we accept that the only constant in life is change, we begin to be empowered by change rather than being frightened of it.

We moved back to the Grand Rapids area fourteen years after we moved away. In that time, we had two sons and became a family of four, I became a principal, and my mom got sick and passed away. My mom and dad were right, you never know how things might change. And, guess what? It’s okay, it’s all okay. Most times, it is even better than okay. Life is hard and it’s sad sometimes and it moves a million miles per hour, but the blessings can easily outweigh the challenges, if we focus on counting blessings rather than counting challenges.

Embracing the constant of change allows us…

…to be grateful for today

…to stop looking for greener grass and start watering the grass we have

…to know we can handle way more than we think we can

…to avoid crashing because we are spending our time looking in the rearview mirror

We have more control over the things that really matter (like relationships) than we realize. Change is always happening, and we get to choose whether we are improving or declining. We are stronger than we think.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.”
― Lao Tzu

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