August 21, 2011 – Change

Change is difficult for many, which is ironic, since it has been said that the only constant in life is change.  By extension, if we can’t change & go with the flow of life easily & effortlessly then we are going to find life to be pretty darn difficult.  This is what I’ve seen in myself & in others.  Refusing to change & fighting change makes our lives more difficult & unhappy.  I’m pretty sure God’s path for us is meant to change us, to make us dig deep & reveal more of ourselves & our good, both to ourselves & to others.  Fighting change means fighting against our path & what God wants for us which in my book makes this a pretty futile fight, a banging-our-head-against-a-wall type of futile.  We will not come out ahead in this kind of fight.  I say pick your battles.  This would not be one to take a stand on.  :)

My family has weathered a lot of changes, both large & small, just as many have & as a result have shown me both good & not so good ways to handle change.  For example, my grandparents who raised me.  My grandfather made a good living selling advertising & later had his own business selling insurance.  He used his money to buy farms & rental properties.  He did very well until the president or vice president, (I don’t remember which) of the Savings & Loan that his mortgages were with, ran off with the money.  I believe it was the FDIC that then stepped in & foreclosed on all the outstanding S&L mortgages that couldn’t be paid off in full.  My grandfather was denied loans by the few banks that he went to & long story short, he eventually lost everything except his home.  This was literally heartbreaking for my grandfather.  About 10 years into the long, slow, torturous loss of everything, he died of a heart attack.  Two things stood out for me from this:  First, he gave up on himself.  Second, he & my grandmother were unwilling to accept change.   

Several years into this process, a friend of my grandfather’s who was the president of a bank in a nearby town, heard what had happened & called him.  He asked, “Why didn’t you come to me?  I would have covered all your loans!”  Why did he not?  He gave up on himself.  When change happens, we assume that it’s bad.  That the change is coming against us or that we are being punished for some imagined, known or unknown past mistake or sin.  For my grandfather, it was a sign or proof of failure.  He was humiliated by it & felt he must deserve it & so he stopped asking for help, even from his friends. 

Lesson #1:  When faced with the prospect of overwhelming change, don’t give up on yourself.

My grandparents were unwilling to change.  They were probably quite set in their ways by this time as they were in their 60′s.  They had worked very hard all their life & everything they’d worked for was being taken away.  To save themselves, they needed to think outside the box, to be flexible & changeable.  Instead, they did everything they could to cling to what they’d had.  Clinging to what has been will not prevent or stop change.  They chose to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy thinking that this would give them time to bail themselves out which it could have if they’d used the time to sell off everything but they did not willingly sell or let go anything.  Any offer they received was met with the attitude that the potential buyer knew they were desperate & was trying to rob them blind.  If my memory serves me correctly, they lost all their properties one by one to the bank/government.  I’m not sure they managed to sell even one, but not for lack of offers. 

Lesson #2:  Learn to let go when it’s time to let go.

Like my grandparents, many today are being faced with the loss of their jobs, their lifestyle, their homes & possessions.  If this is you, don’t assume that the universe/God/others have it in for you, that you are a failure or that you are being punished.  Rather, assume that this is a learning, growing experience that will lead you into a better life.  Assume that God wants something better for you than what you think you had or have now.  As for my grandparents?  They had bitten off way more than they could chew & were incredibly stressed by it.  My grandmother had a stroke.  My grandfather had diabetes & associated complications.  They should have been retired or semi-retired but they could not afford to stop working.  From my perspective now, I would say that God was trying to save them from themselves & their possessions.  All that they owned was owning them – possessing & dictating their lives.  They were drowning in debt & in things, for while my grandfather was busy collecting properties, my grandmother was busy filling up their home with things she would then never let go.  My grandmother grew up in poverty & then she experienced the Great Depression which I think contributed to her hoarding things.  Our things are meant to serve us & not the other way around.  When our things no longer serve our highest good, we need to let them go or they may need to be taken from us.

I have gotten in the habit, from moving frequently early in my marriage, of annually going through everything I own & asking myself:  Does this still serve my highest good?  In other words, do I really need & want it?  Do I use it regularly?  Does it have a place in my home?  In my life?  Do I really love it?  Is it really important to me?  Can I afford it?  Is keeping it or maintaining it costing me more time, energy or money than it’s worth or that I can easily afford?  Anything I’m unsure of, I actually ask Spirit if it is time to let it go & I wait for an answer.  Yes, you will get an answer.  These are also good questions to ask yourself before you bring home anything else.  If, at any other time during the year, I begin to feel overwhelmed by my things then I take that as a sign it’s time to let something go.     

Now, it might seem that “don’t give up on yourself ” & “let go” are mutually exclusive.  Spirit would call this the dance of life.  The Gambler would say, know when to hold’em, know when to fold’em.  This would be the part of digging deep inside of yourself & discovering & revealing to yourself & others the good that you are really made of & that God wants for you.

May You Live, Love & Laugh in the Light of God

Dawn


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