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By MARGIE ADAMS
Leaves are changing color as the autumn begins. It is a sign of things to come — warmer jackets, shorter days, turning the heat on in the house. Many people love this time of year. It is a season of inspiration and drawing our thoughts inward. If we chose to, we can take advantage of the quiet, more settled time to explore and reflect on what most matters to us.
Nature’s glorious transformation — green, red and gold — teaches us that our lives are always in the midst of change. Change is a central part of life and it is essential that we accept it and the tension that it brings. It is in that push and pull that we make our decisions. It is in that state of allowing change to happen and not resist it, that we grow.
The acceptance is actually easier; the resistance is hard.
Many of the people that I visit at the hospital seek prayer. They ask that pain will ease, that they will heal, that treatments will work.
In all of this, there is fear and concern. People have a hard time with change especially when they don’t feel well, or they are faced with adversity. That’s why I pray for peace of mind — that peace will be found within the many changes we will face. We do grow stronger when we accept and learn from our challenges. We eventually find that we can be resilient and in that resilience we become wise.
In resisting God’s promptings, we may become hard-hearted – set in our ways and inflexible. I noticed a big change in my life when I began to say (with God’s help), “I was wrong; what you said makes good sense.”
It was in the deep listening and letting go of the need to make a point, that I found wisdom – learning to be wise and to listen for another’s wise thoughts. It became rewarding to simply hear and appreciate another point of view.
Change means I am willing to be open to new ideas and be curious about it. It means I try to listen deeply and ask questions, not to win the argument, but to understand the other’s perspective. I need to let go of the fear of what others might say and move out of my comfort zone.
When we seek spiritual understanding of what is happening to us, especially in adversity, and we allow the Spirit in, we can grow in wisdom and find our best selves there.
So, ask yourself: Am I really all grown up? Have I reached my best self? Because it is how we respond to change that determines its effect.
Our God is eternal, always faithful, always there for us. And so, we are the ones who will need to meet God as we change in our hearts. We are called to be transformed and through the Spirit we can be transformed and come of age in wisdom.
Margie Adams is staff chaplain of PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.
Perspectives is a regular column sponsored and written by members of the Ketchikan Ministerial Association.