It serves us well to remember that while the sun greets each day and the moon bids it farewell, each day is not the same. Though the hours in a day remain the same, each day offers countless possibilities and opportunities. In order to pursue or partake of them, though, often requires one to make a change.
While we do need some things to be consistent and to have some structure, it is often good to re-evaluate our routines. Are there ways in which I have become closed off to that which is new or different? Is there room for change?
Change… Why is change so hard for some and seemingly not for others? Perhaps it is because there is often more to the story than meets the eye. Sometimes the need for change may not be recognized. Other times when we shy away from it, “resistance to change” is often the roommate of “struggling to let go.”
Usually one must let go of something, or perhaps multiple things, in order to make space for what is new or different. What that thing is can vary greatly. It might be a person, job, house, car or another material possession; or it might be something intangible such as an attitude or a perspective. Sometimes it can be hard to realize that whatever I cannot let go, “owns” me in some way, and, as long as it does, I will not be free to choose or be open to change.
A number of years ago as I prepared to direct my first weekend retreat, I recall feeling a sense of pressure – or greater responsibility – at the thought of working with people for such a short period of time. In looking more closely at what was going on and with a little help, I was able to recognize and name the worldly notion onto which I was holding: that somehow I alone was responsible for a fruitful weekend. Yes, my role as a spiritual director was important, and I needed to be mindful of that, but I also needed to remember that, ultimately, I was not “in charge” and the One who was, was more than capable. In doing so, I felt a greater sense of freedom and could carry on pressure-free as I met with retreatants. Letting go in this way enabled me to be more open. It also enabled me to be more patient with both myself and each retreatant, as if our time together would be endless, trusting that all desires brought to prayer are heard and responded to in time regardless of whether or not I had the privilege to witness the entire process. As the saying goes, I “let go and let God.”
Failing to let go of whatever may be holding us back, is like closing the door not only to change, but also to what may await on the horizon. We live in a world that tells us there is one shot to get it “right” and if we miss, we are out of luck. However, if we look to creation we can see that this is not true. Luckily, or rather blessedly, we often get more than one chance to rise to the occasion and embrace change.