Progress requires change

John M. Templeton
Worldwide Laws of Life
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness” (2 Corinthians 3:18). If we look at life from one viewpoint, everything may seem unstable. Changes can take place so rapidly that it may seem nothing in the world could be looked upon as permanent. Friends may come and go. Possessions may be here today and gone tomorrow. The home of our childhood may have been razed for a new office building. The babe in arms grows into the young adult. Relationships begin and end. People die.

We may suffer from what is called “a broken heart” at one time or another during the course of a lifetime. This could result from the loss of a loved one, the diminishment of physical or mental health, or the loss of a job that provides much‑needed income. Reaching out toward a goal that, for whatever reason, never materializes can cause upset and grief. Some of our cherished goals may go unrealized.

Looking at the universe from another viewpoint, everything is alive and growing. Everything is in joyous motion. New combinations appear. New beauties touch our souls. New opportunities spring up. Adventures may be ours for the adventuring!

When the billowing waves of change come rolling into our lives— and it has been said that “change is the one constant in life”—it may be upsetting to us if our heart is too attached to material things or we are too established in an erroneous concept of permanence. And if there is little or no understanding of how to handle change, it can seem heartbreaking. How do we deal with the pain of loss that seems to touch everyone’s life at some point? If we are open and receptive to God’s presence in every change, we ride safely on the crest of the wave.

When a seed falls or is planted in the darkness of the earth, the seed’s outer shell must break so that new life can emerge. Jesus said, “Unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. . . . But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:24). When our outer shells break in pain, when our hearts seem broken, it is important to learn the lesson that Jesus set out to teach us. Whenever we lose something we may, in some way, gain something at the same time.

We can then come to understand and appreciate that life offers unexplainable experiences that may not always make rational sense. This understanding becomes a precious gift in and of itself. We might think that if we could just do everything “right” we could keep ourselves from pain. But life is often more complicated and mysterious.

A gift can be present in the midst of the loss. The very pain we experience may be the shell of our understanding, our wisdom, our maturity and compassion, breaking forth its gift, its new life. This understanding is not a drug to dull or deny the pain of the experience. Rather, it can be a means to open ourselves to pain’s mystery, to what it has to offer, as well as what it takes away. Perhaps the prospect of making changes can be greeted more cordially by remembering that the journey of life is forward and progressive. And as you grow and progress, changes come.

Have you considered that to say, “This is not the time for change,” could be the equivalent of saying, “this is not the time for new blessings to come into my life”? It is important to grow physically, mentally, and spiritually. The fact that changes come about in our life means that we should be prepared to handle them courageously and triumphantly. Have faith in your own soul capacity, realizing that there can be present within you the fullness of God’s love, wisdom, and intelligence to draw upon. By making an inner preparation for change, you can gear yourself to the idea of change.

The next time you feel some shell breaking in your heart, feel it fully and deeply, and take comfort in knowing that living with and through pain can help you become a more understanding and compassionate person toward yourself and others. Adversity can be a rich and educational gift. Adversity can be a milestone in your mental and spiritual growth. Find it in your heart to welcome change and rejoice in the opportunities for soul growth and development.

From Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher, we learn, “No man is free who cannot command himself.” Through the life experiences, often brought about by change, we may gain mastery of our emotions, our minds and bodies, our thoughts and feelings, and through this, we can become more productive and useful!