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My Life is My Career

Change: For Better and for Worse

Christine Maccabee

November, 2009

The cold rain of autumn falls incessantly today. Rushing back and forth with armfuls of essential firewood, I contemplate the reality of change. I open the door to my little house and it is warm and cheerful, then I go back out into the grey wet chill for more wood and then hurry back in to the dry warmth. I have lived through many a season doing this same ritual and I imagine I will be doing it for many years to come. Some things never change…or do they? Truth is, someday I may be too weak and old to bring in my own wood, and even now I do get help when needed.

I guess you might say change is the one thing we can count on in life. It is the way things grow in a cellular fashion from seed to mature tree, from infant to mature adult. Without change there can be no life, at least as we know it. So, when something throws me off in a days time and I must make adjustments to the circumstances, I try to remember that this is the nature of life. Creation is a continual process and works meticulously in our lives, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, year by year, for better and for worse.

I like that phrase in the marriage vows…."for better and for worse". As an organist I have played for many a wedding, and I often wonder if the worse parts will get the better of the young couple once they settle down into "marital bliss". I always hated hearing the expression "it takes work to have a successful marriage", but I guess it must be true. For that matter, it takes work for anyone, single or married, to get through life. We will always have the better and the worse and everything in between.

As I type these words I realize that all I have said is nothing new. There is nothing new under the sun, right? I think about the rain falling outside and know that at one time it may have been in a pure mountain lake in Montana, or perhaps it came from the filthy Patapsco River that runs through Baltimore, or perhaps the ocean…all the above and more. It is simply in another form today. Tomorrow it will be a part of the grass I walk on, in the roots and remaining cosmos flowers which are still blooming beautifully just off my deck, in the bodies of happy little worms and slugs and thirsty goldfinch and crows, squirrels and deer, in the water I drink from my well, and on and on until it finally winds up in the Chesapeake Bay or as a fluffy white cloud day after tomorrow or two years from now in a deer I eat, who knows?

I rarely complain about the rain. However, sometimes I do rail against change. The aches and pains that come with overwork and age are a reality and can be a difficult change to accept. I am in total awe of those elderly folk who seem to have mastered the art of aging gracefully.

To age gracefully is to be full of grace. One definition of the word grace is "ease and suppleness of movement and bearing". I know some elderly people I would say fit that definition perfectly. There is always a ready smile on their face and an aura of peacefulness around them. I know they have been through hardships in their long lives, for no one is exempt. I do not know how I would be able to live through the loss of a dear son in Iraq, of a loved one in an auto accident, or loss of all I ever owned to a hurricane.

Perhaps it takes the divine intervention and assistance of a higher power, the grace of God, for people to regenerate, to heal (another definition of "grace"). Whatever it takes, life altering change requires adjustment and it isn't always easy. As I move on through my journey in life I hope to become like my wise elders and age gracefully, though sometimes I tend to be a complainer. Nobody likes a complainer, they say, so I guess it is time for me to shape up!

As I continue to listen to the wind and the rain today I think of this beautiful season and how much I am enjoying the changes. The color of green which I love so much, and will miss, is becoming gold and red and orange before my very eyes. There is no stopping it.

Soon it will be all greys and browns and before too long all this precipitation will come down in the form of wonderful snow stimulating memories from childhood and creating new memories as I play with my grandchildren. Snowbirds will fly south to Florida, some will come from Minnesota to Maryland, but I will stay right where I am for now. I will let the changes flow over me and I will take the good with the bad and everything in between. I will strive to be accepting of all the changes, to go with the flow of life, even if someone changes their mind and makes me cry. I will smile through my tears and learn how to trust and respect nature, especially my own. I will take time to be time, to be still and know. I will slow down, stretch, and breath deeply. I will hopefully find balance as I move between the mundane and the ethereal, between the better and the worse, taking them all in stride, and I will remember to be grateful.

I wish the same for you.

Read other articles by Christine Maccabee