I have spent my life changing. Most of you who have known me for more than a year or two can easily see that. When I was younger I desired to be known, at some level, as "the one who is changing." The changes of my youth were often reactionary and dramatic, while being largely sincere and calculated. Somewhere around my 30th birthday I grew tired of being known as the "changing one." Ironically, I have done a lot of changing since then. As I approach middle age (oh, the pain of seeing that in text), I wonder if I am somehow destined to be a changing person or if I have become addicted to change like a junkie needing a regular fix of newness. There is a strange desire for our family to settle now, to nest, to rest from change - at least in terms of where we lay our heads at night.
This is all a preamble to launch into how all encompassing my life has changed this month. It's not just a new zip code, though that is part of it. It's the new job, the new friends, the new schools, the new schedule, (having a schedule at all), etc.
I am not complaining - not yet anyway. I'm actually enjoying the new things. I have just never changed so much so quickly. It has made everything rather surreal. People keep asking us if we feel settled yet, to which my wife immediately says, "yes" while I just stare at them searching for an answer. It's a hard question. (For you newer friends, you should know that I do a lot of staring and very little talking during a conversation. It's annoying, but I can't seem to be otherwise.) I do feel ready and excited to be settled...but not quite settled.
Next week is my first time teaching at The Vineyard. That should help to take the next step in settling in here. I'm teaching on God's Passion for People. I've reread The Return Of The Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen this week and may use Rembrandt's painting to try to unpack God's love:
All this business of change perhaps hinges on the state of our hearts, like everything else. On one hand, God is a God of transformation, revolution, and journey. He's a compulsive change agent. On the other hand, God never changes - this is something that makes him God. Maybe it is the difference in trying to change ourselves vs. allowing ourselves to be changed. The difference between renovation and surrender. The prodigal's first change was to leave the Father and live his own life. His second change was to give up his own life and surrender to love. I've done plenty of both in my life.
Looking forward to seeing what will be...