January 25, 2015
by Rev. Alan Mead
We all experience times of transition, and sometimes we learn from our experience. Whether we learn or not, as we experience change we are changed also. I remember when we moved from a small village where we lived in the same house as my grandmother, next door to my aunt and uncle and four cousins, across the street from where my father worked, and from… where I attended school. Another uncle owned a general store where retired men gathered in the cold months around an old pot belly wood stove, telling wonderful stories, and where everyone knew me and I always was asked to choose a penny candy from the enormous glass bins before I left the store.I was eight years old, it was spring, and I learned two new realities: my mother was going to have another baby and we were moving to the city, about 45 minutes away from where we lived and from everything that I knew. My, how my world changed!To say that I was in a tailspin would be an understatement. In fact, I was several years adjusting to the changes and realized much later, as an adult, that I was still working through my feelings, about what happened, and also about my response to change and moving, particularly my ability to say goodbye and to release the past as I learned to embrace the present.As an intentional interim I soon realized that if I was to minister in a healthy and effective way I had to resolve some of my own issues concerning saying goodbye, leaving, and beginning anew. While this process has involved painful moments as I have learned to accept the part of me that wants everything to stay the same, the part of me that wants to remain in control, I have learned to let it be, to accept my feelings and memories as something to be thankful for as they remain with me. I have also learned that friendships, while losing the immediacy of close contact, remain constant and are a source of ongoing support.As we learn more about ourselves and our own history regarding change, we find that we are able to help others navigate change, as individuals and as congregations.