By The Rev. Laura V. Queen
Over the last 30 years of my life, I have moved across the country four times. My address has changed ten times, I have worked for eight different employers, and have learned the names of parishioners of eight different congregations. Change has been an integral part of my life, and I suspect many of you have had similar journeys. This nomadic life I have lead in the Episcopal Church has been full of the excitement that comes with change, but full of difficult challenges as well.
We have all heard the expressions that “change happens,” and “the only thing certain in life is change.” In the spring of each year, we celebrate new growth. We welcome the leaves as they begin to shoot out of the naked tree branches; the crocus, daffodils, and tulips peek up in the brown beds of a garden that has been sleeping. People begin to emerge from their homes and venture outside for ball games, walks, and bicycle riding. Neighbors become reacquainted and share the joys or sorrows of the winter events of life. This season of growth, and change, breathes life into our daily routine and helps us find the time to grow in relationship with each other and with God.
Most of us resist change, or at the very least, are uncomfortable with it. We do not want to accept when things are not the way we have always done them. Others rejoice in change as it is often the impetus that enables us to leave our comfort zones — to journey into those places of growth we deeply yearn for and eventually need to reach for our success and/or happiness.
Author Parker Palmer in his book, Let Your Life Speak, talks about the cycle of seasons and the change that occurs in nature. He writes, “In my own life, as winters turn into spring, I find it not only hard to cope with mud but also hard to credit the small harbingers of larger life to come, hard to hope until the outcome is secure. Spring teaches me to look more carefully for the green stems of possibility; for the intuitive hunch that may turn into a larger insight, for the glance or touch that may thaw a frozen relationship, for the stranger’s act of kindness that makes the world seem hospitable again.”*
On average, people move two to three times during their retirement. The first move is often to the place they have always wanted to live. The second is to be closer to family. The third is to a continuing care retirement community. It is common to experience a range of emotions during these transitions. While they often bring unforeseen challenges, each change also has the potential to plant the seeds of hope and possibility.
I invite you to grow with change and to embrace spring as part of your spiritual journey.
May God Bless the ever changing you.
The Rev. Laura V. Queen is the Assistant Vice President of Pastoral Care in the Education & Wellness department at CPG. Laura has served as a rector, associate rector, chaplain to Episcopal retirement communities, and a missioner for youth and camping in the Dioceses of Massachusetts and Los Angeles. Laura commutes from her home in Stratford, Connecticut, to her office in New York where she enjoys working and traveling with the CPG team. She has been married to her supportive spouse for 22 years.
*Used with permission. (www.couragerenewal.org)