Probably one of the most frightening words for many of us. To shift gears, to alter direction, to take one’s pulse and then, upon that taking, change one’s life in some regard: these are some of the phrases that we file away as being descriptive of the most difficult times. It seems there has been a lot of change this year for myself and for those I love. And though not all of it has been negative, most all of it has been intense and challenging.
I know i’ve heard people talk about how each of us is geared to deal with change in different ways, and I think I know what they mean. At least it makes sense to me when I think about saying goodbye.
Some of us, myself here included, are wired to say goodbye without too much emotion–a wave of the hand and a hearty smile and then back to business as usual. It seems that when the moment to say adieu arrives, the deep feelings depart without notice and without explanation. It’s after the person has left, perhaps a long while after, that we suddenly find a whole powder keg waiting for us. This might happen when an event as simple as seeing someone walking down the street who looks like our absent friend slides through every cool defense or family-acquired mode of being and straight into the soft tissue of the heart. But by that point, and I lament, the far-away friend doesn’t see my tears, my heart break, and the hole inside me. So that is one way.
One of my friends is decidedly the other way. I remember being told how, upon arrival of someone they loved, they had already began lamenting their departure. Their loved one’s temporary presence signaled their soon-absence. That is another way.
In many ways, it seems that change happens to us regardless of our input. The new way of life establishes itself in our midst, at a certain moment, and we respond, on a scale, somewhere between ignoring it until we are not allowed to anymore and trying to beat it to the punch, anticipating it in order to get the sting over with. I’m not sure that one is better than the other. It seems to me that we are just trying to be as present as we can manage to be at the moment of change or the moment of goodbye, hoping that the love can once again move through our strange wires.
Hope. That’s a thing, right? As I reflect tonight, hope’s relation to change looks like a puzzle that we somehow use as a map before we’ve deciphered it.