Uncertain journeys

Sometimes I feel the excitement of change. That hopeful moment when I get this momentary glimpse myself thriving in a different environment having applied clear and simple plans to resolve the problems. But in most of the changes I’ve experienced the plans and process remain uncertain. It’s not enough to know that it will work out, I want to know how. I love to travel and experience new things, with an agenda.

I actually like moving, when it’s planned. It’s not doing something different, or even dangerous,  it’s doing something different I can’t predict or control. To be honest, risk is kind of thrilling if you know the potential dangers and challenges. It’s the faceless, nameless, unforeseen disruptions that scare me. Then excitement about change, even good change, comes with a little fear. It’s not the risk, it’s the uncertainty.

Sometimes I feel the necessity of change. That supercharged moment when I realize I can’t simply abide because the aggression of the status quo will not stand. Then I retreat, wearied by potential tension, fearful of potential conflict, smiling and nodding like a dashboard dog. I tend to be an abider. I have a hard time arriving at a point where conflict is worth more than tolerating a situation I don’t find ideal. I don’t really believe in ideal anyway, so changing one imperfect situation for another takes a pretty gigantic tipping point for me.

Sometimes I feel the inevitability of change. That uncontrollable moment when the ticking of the clock and spinning of the earth upset my equilibrium. Time is running out. About ten years ago on my 45th birthday I realized that, optimistically, I was half dead. That is, I’d lived at lest half my life. Gravity is not my friend. Health has been a better companion but may not continue to tolerate my cavalier habits. My bucket list is bigger than my checkbook. Progress is more dizzying than impressive but I am trying to stay on the culture train as it blasts into the future.

I find myself regretting the changes I resisted more than changes I embraced. I don’t regret risking and losing. Risking and losing is a story worth telling. There is not much of a story in hibernating because I was afraid. I regret the times I didn’t try something new because I was afraid. But I don’t regret the times I passed on change because I just didn’t think the potential reward was worth trading relationships or time or personal satisfaction. Like I said before, I’m more of an abider than a world shaker.

Sometimes I feel the rewards of change. That revealing moment when I recognize that I’ve been on a journey that has changed me, internally and externally. I can look back and see that while I was living through a series of related events in my life, God was writing a story worth telling, complete with character arc, plot twists, conflict and resolution, and hopefully some snappy dialog.

Now I am confronted once again with change. I don’t know where it’s going. I don’t know what effect it will have on my life, my relationships, or my thinking. I didn’t choose it but I’m open to it. I will abide in change, trusting there is a good story to tell at the other end of this uncertain journey.



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