by A.J. Gray
Dealing when change comes your way.
The Changing Tide
Change. Whether mild, severe, or anywhere in between, it affects us all. The invariable twist of events. The uncertainty. The unknown. It is such an aggravating business. It comes in different shapes, sizes, and uneven colors. From a breakup/divorce, unforeseen layoffs, a friend's death, crash in the stock market, being confined to a wheelchair, receiving a debilitating disease, discovering your child is disabled, to the variations in weather; thunderstorms one day, sunny humid days the next … change is inevitable.
What now? What to do? How do you deal with such a ‘shake-up’? How do you react to this sudden interruption? There are more questions than answers, one can say. The fact remains-the change is as diverse as the individual experiencing it.
Late September of 2003, I’ve experienced such a change. Until that time, I’ve lived in Chico - a small college town in Northern California, for a little over 11 years. It’s where I went to school and a place I called home. Through unforeseen financial circumstances and a little spiritual prompting, I was faced with the possibility of eviction. With a few options left, I opted to give my 30-day notice. I literally had a month to get everything out.
Three weeks passed by and I was feeling apprehensive. No, I was getting antsy. Things were coming to a close and fast. Before the forth week began, the electricity was turned off (No kidding-a first time ever!). Not only that, my old Ford blew her front, right tire. Hours at my part-time jobs were being cut or my boss would stop calling altogether. Things were not looking good. What to do? What to do? I did not, let me repeat, did not handle it well. I clearly needed help.
Trying to tie up some loose ends with the few days I had left, my roommate suggested I call my brother. I leered at his idea and hesitated (Hoping to stay in the town I came to love.). Realizing having few choices left, I swallowed my pride and called. I told my brother my dilemma and asked to stay at his place until I'd get things squared away. He responded with delight and said he would love to have me. “Man, thank God!” The burden had been lifted.
Looking back, I am so glad God used my brother and my ex-roommate (Ironically, both named Chris). Now I’m able to be near my family. I learned that things changed rather quickly when I was away. Sure, I still miss Chico and the people I’ve met there. I often think of them. Friends and meaningful places are an intricate part of anyone’s life.
I confess I didn’t like the change. It forced me to stop, step back, and make some adjustments. Change has taught me to be flexible whenever and whatever life throws my way. It's a part of life. The challenge is dealing with it in a positive light. Maybe it's an opportunity, a work in progress, or a chance to grow. Maybe phoning up a friend, a mentor, or a loved one will make the transition easier. Seek the faith that sustains you. Write down or share your thoughts. You may never know, as odd as it seems, your experience might be a help to someone.
“Ultimately, the key to such personal-experience stories is change. Where our personal lives are concerned, in fact, change is probably the single challenge we all face and share. That’s why the best personal stories explore our transition in life-if only to encourage us to accept ourselves in some new context, or as we’re becoming,” a major magazine editor once said.
He may have something there. Do you see the tide coming? Embrace yourself and hang in there! It may be a change for the better.