While driving home from a large holiday family gathering at my parent’s house, I had time to reflect on the past few weeks. Some family came from out of state. Some live locally. A few have divorced, some remarried, and some are thinking about remarrying. Some of the children are teenagers now. Some of the children have grown up and have their own families. Some have new babies. Some will be going off to college soon. Some have married people with children who have added to the mix. The list of change goes on and on. I love sharing family time.
When I moved to Texas as a teenager, there were just me, my parents and my two sisters. This year we had close to 30 family members celebrating Christmas together. I am blessed to have family that enjoys getting together.
I wondered how many more large family Christmases we will share. All the sisters have growing families. At the top of the list of worries for me and my sisters is our aging parents. Dad is becoming more forgetful. Mom can barely manage taking care of herself and dad, much less preparing for a large group. We all pitched in to help, but it is work. Negative thoughts began to seep in, with fear added. What will happen with mom and dad? What will Christmas be like next year? Will the sisters be able to continue to work together to help our parents through the next transition in life? What about our own life transitions? What will happen with family, the economy, the government, work, health, relationships...?
Truth is, I have no idea what next year will bring. I could get a good “dread” going and stay in negative thought, but is that the way I want to spend my time, my life? Tragedies do happen, but so do great joys. We can have plans, but the only thing we can know for sure is that there will be change. The winds of change will blow. We resist, fight and try to ignore them, but finally we can let go of our need to control and accept life as it is. What if we were able to look at change in a different way? Rather than resist, we learn to embrace change. What if we knew that what ever comes our way, we will have enough wisdom, strength, courage, and poise to get through? This is the adventure of life. This is living life on life’s terms.
Thinking with gratitude about the 2011 helps. What a year it has been. I can’t say that everything has been all roses, but change has happened. There have been painful, uncertain and uncomfortable experiences. There have been successes and great joy. There have also been ordinary moments.
Let yourself embrace change. If you can’t embrace change today, at least accept that change will happen. Practice gratitude. These life experiences can lead to a richer, more joyful and meaningful life.
I would love to know your thoughts on change.