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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Unexpected Move!


Have you ever moved to a new location, far away from your previous home? 

You find a new place to live in which to unpack and arrange all your things, you meet new neighbors, you identify new schools for the kids, you have to find a new doctor, a new dentist, a new church….pretty much everything except for the people and things you brought with you.  

It can be pretty overwhelming.  And it can involved a great deal of grieving over leaving behind the life you had established before.

Maybe instead, you have started a completely different career. Once again, you have to make your space at work your own.  You learn a lot of new procedures, skills and processes.  You meet and learn about new coworkers, and make new friends in the workplace.  A new routine is established over time and you begin to settle in. 

Both of those experiences can be kind of exciting, if are making those changes by your own choice.  But what if you had to move because your house and community were destroyed in a hurricane?  What if you had to start a new career because your company closed and your job skills are no longer needed.  You know, like the old slide rule I ran across the other day…which was soon replaced in the 1970s by the new technology of calculators, which were subsequently replaced by computers.  If your job skill was your ability to repair typewriters and adding machines, your customers today are very few, and you are known for your ability to work on antiques! 

In life, we often are faced with situations that require us to start over in one way or another.  Divorce, of course, is one of those situations, but it is far from the only such experience.  Right now, there are a lot of folks out in California and Hawaii who are faced with starting again, as they have lost homes and family heirlooms.  Perhaps you have seen, as I have, the headlines of various major companies closing out their stores, or at least some of them. I was at one such store recently, and learned that the woman at the register had just started work a couple of months before the store announced it was closing.  The job she had just gotten was suddenly about to disappear.  She was going to have to start again, too.

As in her situation, if you are starting again because your spouse has chosen to divorce you, you can feel abandoned and fearful.  If, on the other hand, like the person who moved for a new job of their choice, your divorce came because you have decided you need to get out of an abusive situation and make a fresh start, you may be approaching it with hope and a sense of liberation.  In both cases, though, the emotions will be mixed, because any time a fresh start is made, there is something left behind that had become familiar, comfortable and maybe even rewarding.  

Every one of us has made some kind of fresh start in life:  moving from elementary school to high school, starting college, moving into the job market, moving out of our parents’ homes...the list is almost endless.  

If you are in the midst of wrestling with a time of a fresh start, I encourage you to stop and think back.  Remember those skills you learned in your past that helped you make whatever fresh starts you have experienced, and consider how to apply them now.  Remember the advantages you obtained through the fresh start experiences of your life, and let that inspire you to the possibilities for your future.  Consider the ways you brought healthy closure to the things you had to leave behind, and let those skills guide your closures now.  

When we grow comfortable in our situations, it is easy to forget that life is a journey that is continuously shaping and moving into new terrains.  Some of those new terrains may be difficult, as health fails or loved ones die.  Some of them may be very exciting, as new challenges, opportunities and adventures are explored.  But each experience of life is only for a season, and must be cherished in its time.  Living in the past or in the future robs us of the joys of the present.  I like the old saying, “The only thing that never changes is:  that everything is always changing!”  

Of course, the other constant that never changes is God.  He will always be there for you through all the fresh starts and losses of your life, if you are willing to look for him in them.  And remember, if you are struggling in a time of change, remember, even the things you are leaving behind came into your life because of a change in your past.  You can make it through the changes that are ahead…you have done it before!

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