Wednesday, June 14, 2023

In the Middle of Perfect Change

 I have been quite busy over the past few months and in the midst of all the jubilant chaos of excited blessings, I had to quiet myself.

We have been on a whirlwind every since my husband stepped into his new role at yet another university.

It has been event-after-event, more people met in a short time, and lots of changes.

Those changes can feel overwhelming when stacked on top of one another. They have included moves of my adult children, lots of travel, planning entire house moves, studying, and still trying to walking in the joy and happiness I've been studying.

Change is inevitable, it is new every day, fresh every morning like the grace that rests upon each of us, but it is also a lot to navigate if it is more than what was expected, or if it rushes at you all at once.

Or it can be anticipated, but unanticipated at the enormity of it and how literally overnight your circumstances can shift.

I have been packing for days on end now, preparing for our household move to place some things in storage until our home is complete. We will be living in a two bedroom, two bathroom campus apartment for six months.

That means that in the middle of putting things in boxes and moving bags, I've been trying to anticipate what events will comprise my summer and fall. Exactly what suit or what dress to bring with me? How many engagements will require my attendance and how glammed up will I have to be? 

Or for a bibliophile with more books than the average small, independent bookstore - exactly which titles of TBRs go with me to the 2x2 cube allotted for any books I intend to read while on campus? What about my studies and important papers I have to complete this fall? Do I send everything to storage.

Or, finally, what about the weather? Do I anticipate bringing boots and coats with me?

Change has been defined as both a verb and a noun. As a verb, that action form it means to "make something or someone different or replace something with something else of the same kind that is newer or better, substitute on thing for another." As a noun, it is the act or instance of making or becoming different, to make the form, nature, content, future course of something different from what it is or from what it would be if left alone." - Google search, 6/14/23.

The verb (action) and the noun (person, place, or thing/thought) of it seem very similar and in a lot of ways are exactly what the essence of this experience I am having entails.

It is tangible - we are indeed changing one place for another and with it, the anticipation of what it will be like to wake up in a different place. It is also very spiritual for us, for me at least, to consider the ways that our journey brought us to one place and is preparing for another one. 

We have been in eager anticipation of what God was going to do with us next. 

My husband and I have a shared faith and through our expressions of it, have held onto the belief that there was a reason that we were privileged to be in the spaces were we found ourselves and that a part of our essence was to be an example of love and light in that space.

Throughout all our lives together, through raising our children, we have had to deal with the inevitability of changes.

These have included moving to different places - more times than I want to count the boxes, in guiding our children through meeting new people and adjusting to those spaces, and in ourselves lamenting what we cherished about one state of being and discovering what is to be appreciated about a new space.

Our hearts skip a beat, our breathing reflects what our body absorbed, change is felt.

It can be exciting and uneasy at the same time.

I always discover something in the middle of it, like in all this packing and. my extensive library, I encounter a title that I read years ago and am flooded with memories of the joy of discovery and why I kept that book. Or, when my older son was here visiting us a few months ago and was helping with the beginning of the packing phase, he found some old pictures and we were both time travelers to the when of those still images. It made me wish for a "real camera" again and the expectations of what would come back from the developer, those days of film when we weren't sure if it was good or not. It wasn't as easy to make a quick change to it before it was posted to the world. It was a happy moment we shared and a reminder to me that I have boxes of real photos calling my attention to scrapbook them before time fades away the story of it.

Reflecting on all that this life is bringing me has been an experience of reflection and renewal, discovery and discernment. These are also acts that are reflected in change.

If we never grow - i.e., change - we just become stagnant, almost like that forgotten unwatered plant I found in my sunroom. 

Change then, is inevitable, it must happen. Things can't just be the same, stagnant all the time.

Lately, I've been asking what are the lessons in it, what part of it can I share with others, and how can I still grow to become the person I was always meant to be.

I recently turned fifty-nine, decidedly on the other side of middle age and deep in the ravages of post-menopause on the body. In that calendar shifting, I looked at myself in the mirror and noticed the sudden altering of my image reflecting back at me. 

When I got over the shock waves radiating through my body from the sudden onslaught of pains that weren't there even three years ago, I began to marvel at what the universe was gifting me.

So, here I am, an older Black woman with dark circles under my eyes, walking with a decided limp as the result of a car accident thirty-eight years ago that finally decided that it was time to make that injury more than an occasional sciatic nerve episode, looking at the lease of time and wondering about how I can still change my life.

Some were going to automatically happen because of my husband's new position, I'm meeting new people and in the middle of new situations all the time, that is not really a change, as the wife of an university administrator, but it is with a new audience, people who don't really know me, and in a state where I am still a relative stranger. I have to adjust to them as they adjust to me and all of it is a dance of acceptance, trust, and believing in the positive.

What do I do when it feels like a lot?

I am an introvert and have to find moments to replenish and renew myself, to not be "on" all the time, and to quiet my soul so that I can hear her speak.

So I find a respite of a coffee shop or a sit out in the sunroom, or when I have to process a lot of shifting forms and being different - I race to the water.

While it is still happening all around me and swirling in the midst of me, I am still pausing to appreciate the perfectness of it all.

©2023 Antona B. Smith. All Rights Reserved.

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