Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ever Persistent Change

"This is your time and it feels normal to you, but really, there is no normal. There's only change and resistance to it and then more change." --Meryl Streep

My husband is a fourth generation "Owen." His name is a symbol of tradition. He is Lutheran, as was his family before him. Owen stands firm in his Scandinavian heritage, planning one day to live in Finland, as did his parents and grandparents.

The name "Summer" reflects the change of the earth as heat replaces cold and is again replaced by cold. Baby books describe my name as borderline hippie.  My great grandfather was excommunicated because he desired the church to change; my family has been Lutheran, Catholic, Evangelical, and Lutheran again. I have over eight different lines of heritage.

When Owen and I first addressed our attractions to each other, Owen told me that he hated and feared change, and I, a lover of change, did not understand. He feared that change may bring the "black hole" of lost friendship, but I accepted that everything would change whether we acted or not.

Despite Owen's resistance to it, change came. Together, Owen and I have faced the change of moving from friendship through dating to marriage. We faced graduation and moving to a new life in Iowa.  I have faced the change of no longer being a student. As the world swirls around us, we hold onto each other that much tighter.

Just as we are settling into our new lives, change knocks at our door once again. As the school year winds toward an end, so does our lease, and Owen and I must move. We find ourselves drawn to houses near where we already live, though we can logically determine that the houses on the other side of town are actually nicer for the cost. In this instance, I am with Owen; we have been in transition for nearly a year, and we don't want to prolong it. Stability has its place.

Yet, more changes lurk outside of our control as we and our families continue the persistent process of aging. My sister is graduating from high school and will be attending college in the fall; my parents have an impending empty nest; my grandparents are preparing for their fiftieth wedding anniversary; and my great grandfather has just entered hospice care.

Knowing that I cannot avoid aging, I've decided to age well. I am excited to experience middle age and old age. One thing that I've realized lately is that you can't have a fiftieth wedding anniversary without being seventy years old. Being only twenty-two, I can't say that I know how to age well, but I have some hypotheses. First, stay healthy, love people, and accept yourself. Second, bask in the goodness around you, and when life changes don't mourn the loss of what you had, but seek a fresh sense of goodness.

I think of Ecclesiastes 3 (this selection includes verses 1-4):
"There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance..."
In the spirit of this passage, I think we can add, "a time to change and a time for tradition."

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