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Change is the essence of life; are you willing?

Oct. 17, 2013 @ 10:05 AM

"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become." -- Unknown

"Miracles come in moments. Be ready and willing." -- Wayne Dyer

It was another one of those days -- the type of day that finds me, "off to the races," as soon as my feet hit the floor in the morning. Consequently, arriving at my place of employment, I felt as if I had already completed a full day's worth of work at home. Upon completing my assigned job for the day, I dashed off for another obligation as well as figured out how I was going to get my daughter from point A to point B, before our family finally had time to gather at home in a state of complete exhaustion.

"Ah . . . the American way."

This thought had just entered my mind as I drove from one commitment to the next one gorgeous evening in September. Music filled the car, but I was not focused on the sounds; rather, it was the background ambiance to my busy mind.

"As soon as I get there, I have X-amount of time to do this, before I go pick up my daughter. Then, as soon as we get home, I need to start a load of laundry, and then get dinner going, while dinner is cooking do..."

Suddenly, this seemingly perpetual soundtrack of thoughts was interrupted, as if a stray animal had dashed onto my mental road, and I had to suddenly and forcibly apply the brakes. Ahead of me, at a stoplight, was my mental interrupter. A license plate with the letters, "BE WILLIN."

Call me crazy, but I felt as if this was a message meant for me to read right at that moment in time. I also sensed I would need to write about it, before I fully realized my lesson. Therefore, as a middle-aged woman who tends to forget things, I immediately sent a message from my phone to my email, in order for me to mentally wrestle with the concept later.

As Americans, we do tend to run our lives at full throttle -- busy bees buzzing through our days, often overextended, under-rested, and behind the proverbial eight-ball. Societal norms reinforce this standard, as if the only way to personal greatness is through a jam-packed schedule of hard work. As I write this, I recognize my own part in this attitude. I do believe in the concept of "hard work." In fact, I try to instill that attitude with my own daughter and students.

However, here is the rub: Are we as a society, myself included, confusing hard work with busy schedules? Furthermore, when we do have family time, are we willing to let go? Let go of the distractions, let go of our stress, let go of time schedules, and just be with the ones we love? It is a fine line, is it not?

Likewise, in all our haste, are we willing to change, and do we take time to see the opportunities to change before us? Does our busyness prevent of us from taking life-altering risks? Are we forced into a rut, personally, professionally, and/or spiritually, because we are not willing to let go of our busy, but safe schedule?

Personally, I found both affirmation and reprimand in this simple message. "BE WILLIN" reaffirmed the various risks I have taken throughout my own life. When opportunities have arrived professionally, personally and spiritually, I have grappled internally, sought advice from family and friends, and mediated prayfully for the best decision. These prospects, or miracles, as Dyer refers to them, often come in moments I never predicted, nor saw coming. However, upon hindsight, I can clearly see events in my life that were propelling me toward this occasion. Thankfully, I was willing to surrender what I was, as the unknown quote states, to what I could become.

Still, "BE WILLIN" also chastises me. How many moments of opportunity have passed me by, because I was not willing to let go? I see my own daughter and young students struggle with the concept as well. In fact, there are numerous adults I know simply stuck in life, because they have not recognized the premise of the unknown author, "Change is the essence of life." Interestingly enough, whether or not we embrace the concept of change, life does not ask, nor need our acceptance, to change. Willing or not, change happens.

Therefore, the challenge for all humans, I believe, is letting go of the belief that we are "in control," simply because we have over-flowing calendars. Our willingness to work hard, give to others in our off-work hours, while continuing to try to raise healthy, productive, and well-rounded kids should not be under-valued. That said, neither should it be over-valued. Life is full of moments -- unexpected events, from the large to the seemingly minute, that ask us to "be willing." My question for you Dear Reader, and for myself, is this, "Are we?"

Stephanie Hill is a freelance writer and a teacher at St. Joseph Catholic School in Huntington. She is also a lifelong resident of Lawrence County. She can be reached at hill992@zoominternet.net.

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