The Momentum of Change
Our neighbour's son is about 3 years old and learning to ride a bike. They started him out on this one...which is a brilliant design as it has no peddles and he can push with his feet and then balance while steering it down the sidewalk. The problem is, he's getting fast! At first, his mom just walked behind him and would steady him as needed. But now, he cruises the sidewalk at such a fast pace that she has had to run to keep up. The other day, however, I saw the dad riding a skateboard right beside the son on the road. They were side by side and the dad looked like he was enjoying himself too. I smiled to myself and thought...clever!
Change is good but change also has momentum. If we don't alter the ways we handle change, we will be running, breathless, frustrated and unable to enjoy the progress that has been made. We may feel tempted to shout out, "You're going too fast - slow down - be careful!"
This week we dropped our youngest son off at university in the next province. He'll be studying there and playing volleyball for the next five years. Our other son is starting his second year of university in our home city. They don't need our assistance as much. We don't want them to slow down so we can keep up...so, like our neighbour, we are finding ways to enjoy the pace and ride beside. We're asking ourselves, "What would be fun for us to do as we ride along beside? Are there ways we can develop our own skills while they develop theirs? What would be a clever way for us to change our pace and enjoy this stage of life?"
Many people have asked me if I feel sad to see our nest beginning to empty. I don't. (Somehow that feels weird to say.) But I think that it is the momentum of change I feel. Each time they pay for their own stuff, make their own arrangements, handle the details of their own lives without asking for help...they are getting faster on their bikes. And I really don't want them to slow down. I want to celebrate their progress! So as we hugged our son goodbye in the parking lot, I felt a 'side by side' kind of pace...like I was enjoying my side of it too. He can go fast and I don't need to tell him to slow down because I'm not breathless and running behind.
So what does that look like?
For me, it means checking my phone less often. It means making plans that don't include them. It means getting the chance to spend more time with my husband and fully enjoy his company. It means not waiting for emails or connecting a sense of being loved with how much they communicate. It means redirecting their questions back to them to see if they have their own insight into problem solving, instead of jumping at the chance to give advice. I want them to ride fast and take jumps and be reckless and tell me about it when they're ready. And in the meantime, I get to enjoy the pace myself...in my own way.
This is the verse that I was reminded of this week:
"But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind." Isaiah 40:31
Let's be people who look to God for our strength and identity and sense of purpose when these changes come. Let's ask Him for creative ways to enjoy the pace and what change brings about because God is with us in it all.