“I hate change.”
That’s one of my favorite phrases. Whenever change happens in my life, I loudly proclaim that statement – so it’s something that flows from my mouth on a very regular basis.
But then I have to qualify…I know change is needed in our lives. I can look back and see how changes have shaped my life and my faith – how it has been a good thing. So I like the results of change, but I hate the process. Most of the time, people agree with me and understand why I would hate the process. Change can be hard, and at times, painful. Others, however, have challenged my aversion to change. I didn’t pay much anttention to any of those challenges until a couple of years ago when someone made a very interesting point regarding my view of ‘change’.
I was telling her about all of the change that had happened in the months before I had talked to her, and of course, how I hated it. There had been so much change that I was feeling overwhelmed. She asked me what changes had happened. After shooting off a list and a high level overview, she said that she didn’t think I really hated change. It wasn’t the first time I had heard that, so it didn’t surprise me, but what she said next did.
All of the changes that I had mentioned shared a common theme – loss. I lost a lot in a very short period of time. What I lost, how much I lost, and why I lost those things combined to create a huge ‘change’ in my life. The word ‘change’ is so much more comfortable and easier for me to accept than the word ‘loss’ so I always describe that experience in terms of changes in my life. But I was challenged to call it what it truly was – loss.
As I started thinking back on major changes in my life, I realized that loss was always involved. Loss is what I hated; loss is what caused the pain; loss is what I want to avoid.
Then I started looking at the other side of that – the end result of the changes in my life. Each time I experienced loss through change, I gained something in the end result of the change. I tend to be a very logical thinker so that observation would lead me to believe that when I experience loss in the future, even though it is painful, I can know that something will be gained in the growth of change. That thought gave me hope that all of the pain I was feeling would give way to something positive.
Unfortunately, this particular loss seems to be hanging around a little longer than expected. As the pain continued, my hope started to dwindle. In the last week, I have been reminded of my pain, and I’ve realized that it is still going strong. I’ve also realized that I can’t find anything good that has come of it in my life yet. As I write this, my heart keeps asking, “When will I see the growth, the gains, the benefits of all the ‘changes’ in my life?” There is a part of me that wants to say, “I hate change!” But then it hits me – the thing that I have said I hated throughout my life is the very thing my heart is asking for right now. I’m tired of being in the pit. I want my joy back. I want my hope back. I want a change.
So my true aversion is to loss and pain – something I am having to learn to deal with in a healthy way (since avoiding and stuffing it never really got me anywhere…).
I guess I have to admit that I really don’t hate change.