Change Can Be A Good Thing
It’s hard to believe the last day of summer and the first day of fall have come and gone. I’ve been watching the leaves on the maple and oak trees in my neighbourhood slowly change colours and am reminded that there is a season for everything. I think King Solomon put it best in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 when he writes,
‘For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and time for peace.’ (NLT)
Right now we are coming up on the season of harvesting. The season where many grieve the end of summer and I, as someone who struggles with Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD) find it difficult to always remember to smile. In many ways, it can be all too easy to cling to the warmth, extra long days and peaceful time of summer. My mother reminded me the other day when I was complaining about the loss of summer, that we have to choose to embrace change. I took a tiny step in that direction with the simple act of buying a few fall coloured silk flowers, pine cones and plastic pumpkins at the dollar store. I put the flowers in two vases; one in my living room so I see it every time I walk in the door, and the other in my daughter’s room where she can see it every morning when she wakes up. The pine cones and pumpkins are in a clear glass bowl sitting in the middle of my coffee table and the bright orange makes me smile every time I see them.
It has taken a little bit of ‘giving myself a pep talk’ from time to time, but I am definitely getting better at embracing change. As a writer, one of my least favourite things to do is edit my work. I love to write the story, come up with ideas for a cover with my designer and I love to read and sell the finished product, but I do not like editing it. At times it can feel downright tedious and I set it aside, hoping inspiration will strike while I’m doing other things. It usually does, but more for another story I want to write. I am coming to realize though, that change can actually be a good thing. As I worked on the third in my series the other day, I was struck by how much I enjoy reading about my characters. There were parts of the story I realized no longer jive with who they have come to be, and I knew it was time to change that. So, I started to edit. And suddenly, looking at it from the perspective that change is a good thing, I discovered that my story is so much better as I edit it.
Another area of change that I haven’t enjoyed but gone along with because I knew it was necessary, is putting my daughter back in school. We had so much fun this summer and I cherished every moment, but it seemed to fly by. I found myself begrudging the time her teachers get with her and missing out on her day now that she’s back in school. I begrudged the early mornings on days I’m not working (I work three days a week) and I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and tell her we can both sleep in and forget about it. But, I did what every responsible parent does this time of year, and sent her to school. Every. Single. Day. No breaks to keep her home just because I miss her. No half days because she’s decided she would rather be with me than go to school (when it fact, it’s not me she wants to be with, but her toys) and so far, we haven’t needed any sick days. Has it been hard to drag her out of bed every morning and get her fed, teeth brushed and dressed appropriately (no pajamas etc) and off to school on time? Sure! But it has been worth this change. My daughter is a complete social butterfly and has been so excited to see her old school friends again. Now that she’s in the older class of a JK/SK (junior kindergarten/senior kindergarten) split class, she has more responsibility as a leader in her classroom. She comes home every day with fun stories from school and ideas for the next day, week or even month.
And, with the Fall upon us, we have Thanksgiving and Christmas get-togethers with family as well as trick-or-treating on Halloween to look forward to. I am learning, slowly but surely, to embrace all the seasons, not just spring and summer. Winter will be by far the hardest for me, but you know what? The first step I’m going to take is getting some silk ‘spring flowers’ and decorating my house so it’s not so drab looking in the darker months.
Change is a good thing. I have fought against it most of my life, but now, in my early thirties, I’m learning just how much I have missed. If you fight change, it’s not going to stop happening. I don’t remember who it was, but someone once said that, ‘if you don’t change, you must be dead’. So, I am going to change. Life is going to change. And I’m learning to be okay with that. God gave us four seasons to be enjoyed equally. This year, I’m going to try, with His help, to do just that.
Here’s a quick challenge before I say goodbye. Some of you may have noticed that I use the word ‘time’ a lot in this article. It was hard to avoid. So, I thought it might be fun to do a little contest to see how much you’ve all been paying attention. In the comments below, let me know how many times I used the word ‘time’ (not counting this paragraph). The first person to guess correctly receives a free Smashwords copy (which can be downloaded to any ereader, including the Kindle) of both The Heart’s Discovery and Worlds Apart. Good luck!