16 March 2011

Time Change --> Change Time?

As you’ve probably noticed, Daylight Savings Time started Sunday. If you haven’t noticed, well…that’s probably why you’ve been late to everything this week. I’ll be honest, I needed Jesus to sanctify my thoughts on Monday morning when my alarms  (I have to use 2 to 3 set at intervals to make sure I actually get up) were going off in the pre-dawn darkness.  I’m not a big fan of waking up even on the best day, and I’ve never been a morning person. At youth group camp I used to make a sign for my door with Proverbs 27:14:
“He who blesses his friend with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be reckoned a curse to him.”

The whole “spring forward” thing seems particularly cruel 7 weeks into training.  It led to me posting a Facebook status that *may* have mentioned me wanting to roundhouse kick Daylight Savings Time in the face. But I realized later that I probably need to apologize for that statement. The truth is, I love Daylight Savings Time. It means the sun isn’t blinding me at 6:30am when I’m trying to sleep in on the weekend. It means that it’s not almost dark when I get off of work at 5pm. It means that long hot summer days are just around the corner. And when it ends in the fall, I always mourn its passing. But therein lies the rub: I love Daylight Savings Time, but I hate the actual time change.

While the longer afternoons are a wonderful result, the time change itself is a painful and unpleasant process that leaves me wishing they would go ahead and invent intravenous coffee. And that reminded me that a lot of changes in life are like that. The new thing may be wonderful and desired, but that doesn’t mean the change will be painless. I remembered a quote I copied into my journal four years ago as I prepared to move to France:

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” – Anatole France

Training ends next week, and it’s only about six weeks until I’ll be living in Costa Rica. That move will bring a lot of change:

 New job.
      New residence. 
            New language. 
                  New people. 
                        New country. 
                              New continent.
                                    New challenges.

New normal.

That’s a whole lot of new. And those are only the big things! Basically, nearly every single thing in my life is going to be turned upside down in one 3-hour flight to San Jose. And there’s a lot of excitement in that. I’m thrilled with my job and am constantly in disbelief that I actually get paid to do this. I’m looking forward to new adventures and challenges. I love the opportunity to learn about new cultures and places.  But…it still hurts. Every new beginning is the end of another, and saying yes to something means saying no to something else. It’s always a trade-off.

I know eventually I’ll settle into a new life in South America. I remember when it happened in Paris. It wasn’t like someone flipped a switch, but it was a gradual process until one day I realized that I felt at home there. I had my places, my activities, my people, my routine- all the trappings of normal life. But long before that point there were a lot of goodbyes, a lot of frustration, a lot of anxiety, and a LOT of change, and it wasn’t always fun. But I eventually got there. And I will again.

"I'm all alone, there's nobody here besiiiiiide me..."
Marilyn Ferguson writes, “It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear. It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer; there’s nothing to hold on to.”
I like that description and there’s much truth to it, but it isn’t the whole story. We do have something to hold onto, one thing that never changes. Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Isn’t that incredible? Years ago, while struggling through a season where life seemed to be just one painful change after another, the truth of that verse poured over my heart like a soothing balm and I have claimed it ever since. To me it is an incredible comfort to serve a God that doesn’t change and who isn’t altered by the tumult and trials of this life. When nothing else seems steady, He is my rock and my firm foundation. He was and is and is to come. I can rest easy knowing He is never caught off guard. “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2). Thank you, Jesus!

And so I can face the sea of changes looming ahead with the sure knowledge that Jesus Christ is the firm rock to which I can cling. 

With Jesus, changes are "no prob-llama." (And yes, I want this shirt.)

*Prayer requests: Safe travels as everyone prepares to leave training next week. Smooth and quick resolutions for those waiting on visas. Comfort and peace as many head home for last goodbyes and prepare to deal with lots of changes.  

P.S. We learned recently about using Bible storying in illiterate places or cultures where stories are highly prized. We practiced some in small groups but I think we could all learn a thing or two from this little girl's telling of the story of Jonah. She's 6 and not reading. I'm impressed!

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