If you have been reading this blog throughout the last four years, you know that my family has experienced a great deal of change over that period of time. It always seemed to me that change was cyclical; I was under the impression that there were seasons of transition and seasons of tranquility. Through the process of musing about life and ministry on a weekly basis I have come to realize that change is present every moment – we are all continually changing biologically, economically, spiritually, and relationally. Change is not some terrible thing we endure; change is a sometimes good thing that we can choose to embrace.
While change is constant, it is much like the tides in that there is variety in the intensity of the waves. My family’s present two and a half weeks are more like conditions for surfing rather than sailing as we watch the whitecaps wash over us. Last Saturday, we hugged our daughter goodbye at college, knowing that we’d not see her sweet face for more than a month. Last Tuesday, we hugged Jeanine’s brother goodbye as we drove home to Boston and he drove to chemotherapy in Baltimore. Next Wednesday, we will place all our worldly possessions in a moving van and the following day unload them a few blocks away. And finally, on Thursday, September 8, we’ll send David off to tenth grade and Joshua off to third grade.
If I were in charge, I would not have chosen any of these transitions for myself or my family: Rebekah could stay home, Stephen would not suffer from the end stages of cancer (if I made the decision, he’d never have cancer at all), we would have remained in the condo that has been home for the past three years and the boys would never get older. If I had my way, Rebekah would never make new friends or gain new experiences, Stephen would never know how strong he really is, we’d never impact a different neighborhood and the boys would lie on their beds playing video games all day. You see my point: I would not choose change, even if it were good for me.
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. Psalm 37:23-24 (ESV)
When we, as a family, go to the beach, the boys and I try to body surf. As I tell them, the best thing to do is follow two rules: First, lean into the smaller waves or they will knock you over; and second, jump just before the bigger wave crests and allow it to carry you to the shallows. In many ways, that is what I am trying to do these days: lean in and then enjoy the ride. So, I will brace myself when the texts go unanswered, when the diagnosis is pending, when the boxes get heavy and the house is quiet. I will enjoy the updates that she is making friends, that the drug is working, that the new house brings new opportunities and that I have another three years before another one leaves the nest.
Lord willing, there will be a stretch of smooth sailing for all of us in the days ahead. Whatever may be lying just beyond the horizon, I trust that God knows how to use it for my growth. And, oh, what an adventure awaits us with Him.