Published in the Rains County Leader on August 30, 2016:
I don’t do change very well. I don’t know if that’s a result of nature or nurture – in other words, I don’t know if I was simply born with a natural aversion to change or if I have developed that aversion because very little changed in my world when I was growing up.
Not that my childhood was boring, but it didn’t involve a lot of variation. When Mom placed furniture in a room, that’s where it stayed. Dinner meant one of a few familiar menus, and family vacations usually included a week in a cabin on Lake Ouachita in Arkansas. That kind of lifestyle gives a solid sense of stability and security, but it doesn’t offer much opportunity to learn to deal with change.
That’s probably why I was so devastated when, as a newly married young adult, our neighbors moved away. We had met Kirk and Kathy shortly after we moved into our first apartment, and we immediately became fast friends. We visited in each other’s homes, we “double dated,” and we learned to play bridge together. Then, they both began earning more money, and they chose a larger and fancier apartment in a better part of town over our friendship – at least that’s how it felt to a change-averse co-dependent like me.
I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve been through enough changes to fill a book and have survived to tell the tale. I still don’t like it, though. That’s why the last week, one that was full of change, was a difficult one.
The first change was waiting for me when I arrived at the church on Monday morning. The Wildcat Breakfast that had always been on Friday needed to be changed to Thursday. My initial instinct, which thankfully was an internal one, was to dig in my heels and say that we couldn’t do that. After all, the dates were posted on the website and had been announced in the bulletin, in the slide show at the beginning of the service, on the bulletin boards in the hallway, on the Facebook page, in the weekly email update, and in our weekly column in the Rains County Leader. Externally, though, I smiled, made a few phone calls to those involved in the preparation, posted the change on the Facebook page, sent a special email blast, and prayed it would be enough.
The next major change has been coming for a while, but Sunday was Darren Brumit’s last Sunday as Student Minister at Believers’ Baptist. While I was excited to see what comes next in his ministry, I knew his leaving would not be easy. He would leave an enormous vacancy in the youth ministry, and the shifting of volunteers to cover that vacancy seemed to leave the AWANA program without leadership. In addition, our Home Group Bible Study was losing the only teacher we have had in the two years since we started. In spite of the fact that I have seen and experienced God’s provision for almost seven decades, I was worried.
Toward the end of the week, we learned that two families had undergone a big change – the death of a mother. One mother was a member of our church until she was no longer to live alone. The other was the mother of a current member. These changes rock the world of all of us for two reasons. First, we have all lost loved ones and second, we will all undergo that same change one day. As I prayed for the families, I thought about my own mother who passed away four years ago, and I contemplated my own mortality.
Now, before you begin to feel too sorry for me, thinking that my whole week was totally negative, let me quickly tell you some of the good things. On Thursday morning, regardless of my doubts, over fifty students and adults showed up to enjoy breakfast burritos and a devotional from Psalms 1. Then, while I was worrying about AWANA and Home Group, volunteers stepped up and filled the vacancies.
Over the weekend, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen preparing food for Home Group, for the potluck lunch honoring Darren and his wife Courtney, and for the funeral lunch. Chopping and stirring doesn’t require a lot of concentration, so I had lots of time to think about change. Last year our ladies’ Bible study focused on the attributes of God. One of my favorites is His immutability – the fact that He doesn’t change. For a change averse co-dependent like me who lives in a world that is in a constant state of change, that’s very comforting.
A LONG AND WINDING ROAD: A Caregiver’s Tale of Life, Love, and Chaos
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