Change is in the air and I am breathing deeply of its fragrance

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By Fran Salone-Pelletier, Religion Columnist

President Obama claims change as his policy for and promise to our nation. The seasons change quarterly. With incredible rapidity, impending drought changes to hazardous flood conditions. Election time draws near. Candidates cry out for change. Change governmental strategies, change political parties, change your voting process. Change and choose differently.

People change with time. Babies become toddlers. Toddlers transition to preschoolers. Grammar school age youngsters become adolescents, young adults, and on it goes. Change is not just in the air; it is inevitable. As my mother frequently commented, “You are either living or dying. There’s no in-between.” 

In a sense, there is no status quo. The earth will move under our feet whether we like it or not.

That being said, change is also challenging. It causes unease, distress, and inertia as much as it evokes excitement, enthusiasm and action.

Currently, Hubby Dear and I are profoundly engaged with the evolution of our lives. We are confronted with the growing limitations of age and physical ability. No longer can we climb with agility and confidence to check our roof to establish its soundness. Nor can we keep apace of the weed growth, the landscape needs, the ongoing house maintenance that is part of home ownership. 

At the same time, we don’t want to leave our homestead. It may not be the home place of Southern repute, the site where generations have raised up their young’uns, where grandparents occupy nearby homes and other relatives are never far away. 

However, it is the spot we chose for our own. It is the place where we daily find peace at the end of a sometimes worrisome but always unique dirt road. It is a house that we built to our specifications, an abode where light has abundant entry until darkness covers the earth, where books line the walls unless paintings have gotten there first. It is a locale where fences are not necessary to maintain good neighbors. Add to those facts, the reality that we have lived here longer than any of the previous dwelling places we have owned and occupied over the course of our 26-year marriage.

Change is in the air...and it is wrenching our hearts.

It would be easy to close our minds to the prospect. We could search for folks whose business is yard and house maintenance. We could close the subject and remain exactly where we are. Somehow, that is not a result that settles our hearts and minds. Somehow, we are feeling the pull to open doors and windows, to take a leap of faith, to let God do something new with us...and hopefully through us.

Hubby calls it a providential adventure, an opportunity to renew ourselves and gain a different perspective. He also calls it clean up, fix up, tag sale time. “We’ll be rejuvenated,” he declares. And I? I concur, even if I don’t view us as ancient ones who are stagnating in our tracks.

While nodding my head in agreement, I am already confronting my concerns. I am also hearing those that Hubby had tried to hide from me. Declaring he was not worried, just a bit apprehensive. “How was this all going to happen?” he wondered. Would the right individual appear, the person who would appreciate the loving spirit with which this home had been constructed? Who would view the dirt road as an asset, not a liability? Would this be perceived as a metaphor for life, a sometimes bumpy, dusty trail that leads to paradise?

The questions became part of our new life. We were learning to honor them, to live with them rather than to resolve them. At least, that is what we were trying to do. Our success fell far short of our efforts. There were many restless, if not sleep-deprived nights. To increase our anxiety, the great rains came. 

Flooding deluges soaked the yard and deepened the ruts in the road. Our hearts fell. Would anyone understand this kind of damage had not occurred during the many hurricanes we had endured while living here? If we tried to explain, would it appear that we were protesting too much? What is more important, were we coming face to face with obstacles that were being placed in our way because the proposed move was not what God wanted for us? 

As I contemplated the questions, letting them sink deep into my being so I could better discern God’s will, I noticed a spider which had spent weeks ensconced in a web that stretched widely across our family room slider. I had no idea of its species, but had been told it was a female Golden Orb arachnid. She had woven her web carefully, adhering it to a tomato plant at one point and a wind chime at another and the house itself at yet another spot. 

During the sunny days and clear evenings, she managed quite well with little display of effort or movement until a fated butterfly engaged with her web and was swiftly paralyzed and slowly consumed. The only change she needed was to repair any damage done to her web. When the rains arrived, her struggle began. At first, she simply flattened herself against her web and endured the downpour; however, as the winds increased and her web decreased, she had to confront the change to her homestead. She became a sign, a model for me.

I watched her. I noted there was no frantic activity. There was simply a decision to hang on. Literally, that wonderful creature hung by one thread, one sturdy thread. It was not her question whether she should leave or stay. It was only hers to remain steadfast during the stormy times. She would wait to see. If necessary, she’d shore up her digs. If not, she’d make her decision when the time was right. 

If that spider could hang on, if only by a thread, so could I. I could live through the vagaries of a ruined road. I could hang on while prospective buyers marched through our home, evaluating, with eagle eyes, at all that I treasured. I could offer the web of my life, believing that the love invested in its space would be viewed with delight. 

Change is in the air and I am breathing deeply of its fragrance.