Although I was dressed in layers, last week’s Midwestern arctic cold front seemed to shock my body. I took the dog out for a brief run around the neighborhood and experienced a deep chill that felt like an alarm clock warning my body, “It is cold. You will get sick and regret this!” My nose started running and my eyes were dry, so I relented against old man winter and returned home for a hot shower. You can imagine my shock (and shame) when I saw that the temperature outside was actually a BALMY 49°. Egads! Last winter, I ran daily in sub-freezing weather wearing only a tank-top, shorts, gloves and a wool cap. What the heck happened to me? I know that it takes around two weeks for one’s body to adjust to the weather change, but even the dog was panting less than me. Getting acclimated to the change in season is challenging.
On a subsequent run, I reflected on the difficulty of making adjustments in life and the reality that most of us do not like them very much. It is certainly inconvenient to change the big things like jobs, houses, and marital status (marrying and separating!) but even the smaller things can cause us angst (e.g. road construction ahead /rerouted traffic, the dreaded “Sold out of B-B-Q” signs). The immense ripple effect of these larger changes can rock us to our foundations. The death of a loved one may trigger soul-searching. Loss of a job can lead to a complete career change. Even marriage, for example, changes every single relationship in a person’s life. Imagine all your relationships in an Excel sheet. When you get married, everyone moves down a row because your spouse takes over #1 spot. Parents, siblings, and your bff, should move down because of the vast commitment to your spouse. We may not like the idea of ranking relationships, but I use this image to illustrate the vast changes. We readjust, re-calibrate, and strive to keep our foundation and values amid the variations.
Life is indeed ever-changing. People are born and die, seasons transform, and our thoughts and bodies evolve and devolve. Remember the famous quote from Heraclitus? He said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” So how do we cope? I humbly suggest turning it over to the constant, unchanging, and perfect love of God. That is a relationship that is so pervasive that it transcends the others. Throughout all the changes of life, no matter where we are, how good or bad we behave, or how young or old we feel, the God of our understanding is steady and perpetual. Letting go and letting God can ease all transitions.