Change. It’s a short word but many times is a hard process to go through. It can create a multitude of simultaneous responses: excitement, anxiety, opportunity, restrictions, mourning, anticipation, etc. For many of us, how we respond to change can dictate the experience we have.
On a personal note, in the past few months, I have experienced a large amount of change. The largest of all was Miranda heading off to Rice University for her freshman year. For Miranda, it is obviously a great departure from her previous experiences. Additionally, our family unit has experienced the change and each in their own way is adjusting to it. As a parent, this is tumultuous. As they say, time has flown and we don’t know where it went. For those who have had a first child go off to college, you are familiar with the change we are going through. I don’t know that I fully understand what it is yet but have at least begun the first steps of that change.
Simultaneously, at my job, the firm I was working for was acquired and I knew my position would not continue forward. While that created great stress, I also had a sense that things would work out somehow. As the song says, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Through networking, preparation, and efforts by some of my current and previous co-workers on my behalf, I was able to find a landing spot at a firm I really enjoy. However, it has carried with it many if not all of the simultaneous responses change creates. I feel blessed to have the opportunities I have but have much of the anxiety and mourning that a forced job change brings.
Within the Community of Christ, we have had a year with great change as well. World Church shared with us the financial constraints it found itself under and the resulting actions it felt forced to take. As a result, many good people who were doing good work were forced into an unexpected and uninvited change. Our hearts and our prayers have gone out to them. I hope they have felt the love of their fellow Community of Christ members but I’m sure they have also felt many of the responses change brings. Our church mourns our loss and their loss. Our congregations feel with and for them. Our hope and prayer is that they are blessed and feel they have been blessed by this change as they move forward.
Linda Booth was here recently and shared with the congregation changes that are happening in the lives of congregations and individuals around the country. She shared about initiatives and opportunities in which people’s lives have been altered because of the ministry offered at the local congregational level. At the latest Mission Center conference, she challenged each congregation to engage in practicing radical invitation. In some ways I feel we are doing well in this area but in other ways, I feel there are opportunities that we are missing or not responding to. My prayer is that as we look towards 2017 and envision the future before us, we will not only embrace change, but also create it for ourselves and those around us.
By Richard Cole