Seasons of Change

A few years ago, my father made the decision to sell the family house where I was raised. This little blue brick house which was in the countryside, had a beautiful backfield, lush green grass, and bright colorful flowers that my mother worked so hard to plant.

However, after I moved to California for seminary, my mother passed away, and life took my father and sister in different directions than my own, my father talked with us about selling the house which was our home for twenty years. And even though it was difficult, we agreed with him that it was the right thing to do.

Seeing the house being sold was not easy for us. And there are days I wish I could just sit in the backyard on a summer evening during sunset and listen to the crickets and the horses in the backfield once again. However, for the three of us to embrace the new beginning which was starting to grow and has since flourished in our lives, we had to let go of the life we lived. And while the house would no longer be part of our lives, the memories would stay with us for a lifetime.

What is it about change that makes it so difficult for us to accept? Is it fear of losing that sense of nostalgia for living a way in which we always had lived? Or is it fear of being faced with a new uncertainty that is taking us into the unknown?

When it comes to scripture, the author of Ecclesiastics struggled with change. Biblical scholars debate who actually authored this book in the Old Testament. However, one thing is certain. The author struggles with a sense of cynicism in the first two chapters. “I made gardens and parks and planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees. What I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.”

Even though the first two chapters seem cynical, the author seems to have a different outlook on life by the third chapter. And it’s this chapter which gives us strength when struggling with change.

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens. A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before.”

Whether it’s saying goodbye to the home you once lived in, retiring from a career which had been your lifelong passion or seeing a church or community that has been part of your life story come to a close, change is inevitable and we need to allow ourselves to feel that pain. However, at the same time, we need to allow ourselves to be open to new ways of growing and learning, even if it’s a bit uncomfortable.

“Our days are a kaleidoscope,” writes Henry Ward Beecher. “Every instant a change takes place. New harmonies, new contrasts, new combinations of every sort. The most familiar people stand each moment in some new relation to each other, to their work, to surrounding objects.”

Where ever change in your life takes you, may you find the peace, comfort, and healing during your transition while also taking the opportunity to embrace, learn, and grow as a child of God.

Christopher L. Schilling is an ordained minister in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), hospital and Air Force chaplain, and a freelance writer.