The Nature of Change

by Don Laird, MS, NCC, LPC

Change cannot be circumvented. It wills us, not with some deterministic arrangement or hidden metaphysical resolve. It creates us as we create it, willfully, positioned somewhere between effortless thought and complex expression. Indeed, one can easily immerse deeply in the warmth of the summer sun and hope that it will never set. Yet, this wish fabricates an immediate childish hope to crystallize a single moment in time and space, a snapshot of ourselves forever in the noon time of existence.

In a few short hours, and in spite of all our efforts to embrace the moment, the sun will set leaving us to face the dim and the dark while obscuring the spaces that might have offered us comfort during the hours when light fell in abundance. Now the shadows consume, and nature has willed its change. And in a few months, the warmth and duration of the sun will be a recollection as summer bows to autumn. Leaves once green and carefree will now spend their final days boasting bold reds, oranges and golds — timeless symbols that change is before us. Like the seasons, everything changes. It is the only true constant. An acorn planted for a child’s school project will one day tower over her head as a mighty oak. Its roots taken a firm grip of the earth. Its core developed to a rich, mature state. A house that someone once called “home” for more than 30 years will eventually belong to another. With change, whether good or bad, comes the need for adjustment.

Humans are not built well for adjustment. It is a word synonymous with discomfort, fear and pain. We avoid it when we can, and celebrate it if “everything worked out for the best.” Yet, when a life paradigm shift occurs our horizons are expanded, thoughts and emotions that we once believed were impossible or didn’t exist come to life. It is our moment to shine or to fade into the shadows.

So, we anxiously await change. We sit by complacently and hope for the best. I often think how the changing seasons in our own lives leave their impact on us as individuals. With change and the necessary adjustments, we grow into stronger people, with deeper convictions and a clearer sense of who we are. Just as that mighty oak planted so many years ago has weathered the storms of its life, so must we. With change, our society can develop into a better humanity, standing tall and sure, roots firm, with arms like branches spread far and wide to touch the clouds and capable of growing into another season.

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