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Sunday, August 3, 2014

A World in Flux


Abandoned MKT railroad lines
I had to take the car in for some repairs the other day.  Since my wife was out of town, and since I usually try to take the dogs on walks anyway, I ended up taking the car in and then walking the dogs from and then to the repair shop.  I am currently living in the town I grew up in, so the route took me along very familiar paths.  

I walked by the old field where the schools used to play football and our band played from the bandshell.  The field is empty, the bandshell torn down and grown over.  I walked past my elementary school, homes of childhood friends and neighborhood grocery stores.  I walked across my paper route.  I saw the fields where we played, the location of trees we used to climb and the home in which I grew up.  Much of what I saw was now in decay or disrepair.  Favorite trees are now gone, long since fallen or cut down.  Neighborhood grocery stores no longer exist.  The neighbor’s fishpond has long since been filled in.  The old pasture now has a water tower in it.  The railroad tracks have been removed, and a grown over path has taken its place.  Many of the homes, including the one I grew up in, have suffered much over the years due to lack of upkeep.  

Because I have lived in several towns over the years, I have experienced this same kind of thing in other locations as well.  One of the false beliefs about divorce is that if the divorce hadn’t occurred, then things could have gone on and been okay, without the heartache and hassles of the aftermath of divorce.  In reality, our entire world is always in a state of flux and decay.  Nostalgia may make us believe things could have been so different…but even the good things of the past would have changed over time.  Some things change for the better, some for the worse, but everything changes.  

I once heard it said that the only thing that never changes is that everything is always changing!  (Which, by the way, is one of the marvelous characteristics of God…he never changes, we can count on him to remain always faithful, always the same.)  It seems to me that the secret of quality living is to be able to embrace change so that it can enrich our lives instead of seeing it as some kind of enemy to be avoided.  

The corollary is that we need to treasure each day we have and each relationship we have…because tomorrow is never promised to us, and when tomorrow does come, things will have changed.

There are some changes that I welcome and look forward to as exciting progress and opportunity. There are other changes that come which are harder to accept, requiring me to let go of the familiar and risk something new.  But as I walked the neighborhood, it made me realize that though it is not what it once was, it was something good when I was young.  The trees I climbed are gone, but the memories of joy-filled days remain.  Buildings are gone or decayed (and I am a bit decayed myself!), but there was a time in which those structures offered a safe haven and a place I once called home.  

Home is somewhere else now. And I am someone beyond who I was as that child.  But I still have a place I call home.  And I still have people I love and who love me.  These things have always been true in my life, though the locations have varied and the faces have changed as people have come and gone in the course of my life.  

Divorce is certainly a humongous change in life, but it does not have the power to rob us of a future with new memories, new friends, and new opportunities.  So, though it may be hard to do at times, I encourage you to embrace the changes life brings your way.  The changes that come can bring wonderful joy beyond your expectations.

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