Right now I am waiting for orders, my wife is healing from surgery, my daughter and son-in-law are expecting a baby and my son is finishing his first year of law school.
We are all dealing with change! You are too, aren’t you?
Dealing well with change — especially those changes that are out of our hands — is important. Sometimes we long for and welcome the change, and at other times we resist it.
Did you hear about the old man from the back mountains who was used to life being a certain way, but one day he found himself in a large city standing for the first time outside an elevator? He watched as an old woman hobbled on, and the doors closed. A few minutes later the doors opened and a young woman marched out. The father hollered to his son, “Billy, go get your mother!”
From birth to death, changes keep coming. We know a lot about this in the military, don’t we? A few years of this lifestyle can bring more changes than some people experience in a lifetime, but the pace of the change we encounter varies a lot. So how do we deal well with change if it seems to us to be slow, or steady or fast?
Slow change: Perhaps the change you long for seems to be coming so slowwwwwwly. Perhaps you are waiting for new orders, or for a spouse’s deployment to end, or to be reunited with someone you love, and it seems to be taking so long. I recently heard about the Arctic wooly bear caterpillar, which can live up to 14 years as a caterpillar before becoming a moth.Talk about slow change! That caterpillar might wonder if the change is ever going to happen. But eventually it does. Experiencing slow change requires endurance, remembering always that we’re in this for the long haul.
Steady change: Perhaps change is coming for you now at a steady rate. Depending on what the change is, you might wish it was coming slower or faster, but still it comes. Are you on a learning curve now? Are you developing new skills? Are you recuperating from illness or injury? Are you adapting to a new environment? Steady change requires patience to adapt. We all adjust though, because we must.
Fast change: Perhaps change is coming now at a frenetic pace and it’s hard to keep up with it all. So many seasons of life are like this: leaving home, getting married, welcoming children, launching children, new orders, new responsibilities, new surroundings, new circumstances, broken relationships, losing loved ones, a new diagnosis. Changes sometimes come fast and furious. Dealing with quick change requires much resilience. Like surfers, we ride the waves as they come.
Endurance, patience, resilience — these are qualities we need to deal well with life’s changes. Whether the changes you are encountering now seem slow, steady or fast, it helps so much to hold on in faith to the One who has an abundant supply of what you need today and will need tomorrow, and who has promised to be constant through every changing circumstance. (Psalm 100:5) “His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation.” (Malachi 3:6) “I am the Lord, and I do not change.” Amen!
May God bless you in all your seasons of change!
— Cmdr. Stephen Gammon, Chaplain Corps, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, is the staff chaplain for Individual Augmentee Support and chaplain of the Naval Mobilization and Processing Site at Port Hueneme.