Change. To many it’s a scary word. Some of us have a serious fear of change. We like staying in our happy place. I’m not usually fearful of change, unless we’re talking about my hairstyle. I couldn’t cut this thing if you paid me. [Ok, maybe if there was a profit involved ;)]
Change is inevitable. Our lives take some crazy twists and turns, leaving us with no choice but to hang on for the ride.
But sometimes, we can be in denial about the change that is before us. For example, I’m moving in about 6 weeks. I’m not going too far away – about 3 hours from where I live now – but I’ll be part of a whole different community. And I don’t mean community in regard to the location, but I truly mean community. I’ll be transitioning from working full time to being a student again. Unlike a traditional graduate student, I’ll be attending seminary, and I hope to be part of a community like no other. For those of us on a journey to enter full-time ministry, community is utterly essential. I can’t express how important it is to have that support system in your family and your peers. It is by no means an easy journey, but I’m confident that it will be an amazing one.
I’m sort of at that point where 6 weeks seems really far away and right around the corner at the same time. I’m definitely in denial about some of the smaller details that occur with this change. I’m fully aware that I’ll be living in a new apartment and attending classes every day, instead of sitting at my desk and planning service programs for students. But seeing my friends on a daily basis and going to one of our favorite local restaurants? Dropping by my co-workers’ offices to just chat for a few minutes? Those are just a few of the smaller changes I’m definitely not ready to face yet.
It’s funny how change can creep up on us, even when we know it’s coming. I’ve known I’ll be attending Duke Divinity School since March. At the time, I thought choosing a seminary was going to be the hardest decision ever, but after visiting Duke I knew I couldn’t go anywhere else. The hardest part was calling all of the wonderful staff members from the other seminaries I had visited and interviewed with, and telling them that I was not only turning down the amazing scholarship that they had invested in me but also attending one of their competitor institutions. It is definitely to be expected in the world of seminary admissions, but it is still incredibly difficult news to share.
Now I’m beginning to wonder if that wasn’t the hardest part at all. I’m beginning to think that maybe the hardest part is embracing the change. Not just the big picture change, but all of the tiny details that accompany it. Fully embracing the journey ahead and staying fearless throughout isn’t easy. I’m definitely a big fan of change and I’m so excited to start this next chapter in my book. And I’m not really scared, but I will admit that I am a little nervous to embark on this new journey. I know that’s okay and totally normal, but it’s a little out of my element.
When I moved here two years ago, I had never even been to South Carolina before. I couldn’t tell you one thing about this state, except maybe its capital, since we had to sing that crazy song about all of the states and capitals in the 6th grade. And since South Carolina is near the end of the alphabet, it would have taken me quite some time to recall that Columbia is its capital ;). The point is, I had just graduated college and was ready for a new start. I had no idea what I was getting into, but there wasn’t even a spare second to be nervous. I moved down 2 weeks after I was offered the job. The week I moved here was the week of my sister’s wedding [in which I was the Maid of Honor], and let’s just say life was beyond crazy at that time. Unlike the change I’m facing now, there wasn’t even enough time to digest what I’m experiencing and even think about what would be next.
But now? Two years later? I’ve formed relationships with some of the greatest friends, colleagues, and mentors that a girl could ask for. Am I ready for a new start? Oh yes. It’s time. I’ve done about all I can do in my job and it’s clear that now is the time to start another exciting chapter in this crazy, unpredictable, and wild book called life. Now I’m able to see what’s before me, imagine what’s next, and actually have some emotions about the whole thing.
I’ve found that the greatest part of embracing the change – the big details and the small ones – is knowing that the memories you’ve formed and friends you’ve made will carry on with you. Sure, I might not see my friends on a daily basis and we might not be able to get sushi at Red Bowl every week, but we can when I stop back into town every now and then. As far as memories go, those are the best. You can carry them with you as far as you go, and if you have a crazy good memory like mine, you won’t forget even the smallest details of some of the best moments.
Through all of this change, I’m encouraged to live each day with gratitude. My daily prayers include thankfulness for all of people I’ve met who have helped shape not just the journey that’s before me but more importantly the person I’ve become. I’ve been reminded to thank God for the things I too often take for granted, even though I realize I probably leave some essentials off of that list. I thank God daily for my family, friends, colleagues, mentors, and all of those who have left an imprint on my heart. I’m thankful to be able to embrace such an exciting change, and pray that I’ll remain faithful, regardless of the twists, turns, ups, and downs of the journey ahead.