Life is all about change, right? As participants in our own changes, we don’t often notice how much change is occurring until some event causes us to reflect on where we started. As the school year draws to a close, one of my children’s teachers sent home a montage of pictures that showed me how much my older child had changed in the last few months; the other child’s teacher sent home a book that was a mute witness to how much my younger child’s writing had developed in style and clarity during the school year. Both examples made me realize how quickly growth and change happens right under my nose.
I’ve realized this: to fear change is to fear life itself. To fear life is like returning a Christmas gift unopened, for life and the love that accompanies it areof the Universe.
The word “change” comes from the Latin word cambire, which means “to exchange.” All we do is trade something — a house, a belief, a job, whatever — for something different. The operative word here is different. I think it is the scale of the change that frightens us. Think about it: everyday experiences bring subtle changes. Do those little thing scare us? Probably not. It’s what we perceive as a big change that evokes fear.
I remember a time when I used to fear change. I remember countless occasions, on the eve of a trip or new job, worrying about what the next day/hour/month will bring. On the other side of the event, I recall wondering what had scared me. Each time, different vistas opened, new friends emerged, and fresh perspectives grew.I think it’s natural to be afraid, but you can’t let that fear stunt your growth and experience of love.
On the flip side, how boring would life be if it were the same every single day. If we ate the same food, performed identical tasks at the same time, wore the same outfit–how boring would that be? Thankfully, we never have to worry about being bored like that. Unless you are like Bill Murray‘s character in Groundhog Day,you will never have to worry about that problem. But what did that character do? He grew within the confines of his existence and suddenly awoke to a new life. The same can happen to anyone. The trick is to be open to the newness and run toward it.
Life beckons us to experience love in all its different flavors and richness. So what if your favorite flavor today is chocolate? Tomorrow, you might discover a new flavor like rum raisin or lemon blueberry and find that it is just as good and satisfying as chocolate. Someday when you look back, you’ll notice that you have several different favorites from which to choose.
The next time you become scared about a change, try asking yourself this:
- What is scaring me?
- How likely is it that what I’m afraid of will happen?
- What can I do to overcome the fear?
Once you identify step 3, DO it. Then go back to step 1 and repeat the process as necessary.
Change is the path that leads to life. Shed the fear and dare to live.