As someone who resists even rearranging the furniture in a room, imagine how hard it is for me to deal with a major change.
I am also a person who puts down deep roots in a place, so it is hard for me to pull them up and go to another city or state. The heel marks between Dallas and Omaha, NE when my husband’s job took us there, was not just because I was reluctant to leave my kids. I was reluctant to leave my house, my friends, my church, my comfort zone and go to a strange new place.
The move from Omaha back to Texas was not quite as hard, as I was coming back closer to my kids. Plus, I was going to live my childhood dream of a place in the country and having my very own horse in my very own back pasture, who would greet me in the morning with a nicker when I went out with a cup of coffee.
Banjo did say a cheery hello every morning for the past 15 years, but it was not always a greeting of affection. More often, it was a reminder that I needed to go to the barn and get his hay. He was motivated by food.
Now Banjo is gone, as are all my other big animals. A very nice man bought Banjo, and took the sheep, Marie, who was Banjo’s pasture mate. They will both have a good home with that man for the rest of their lives. He promised they would not end up at market, and a man’s word is as good as gold in the country. So even though I cried when they left, and still get a lump in my throat when I go outside, that grief is tempered with the knowledge that they will be well taken care of.
The animals are gone because I made the difficult decision a few weeks ago to sell my property and move to the Dallas area to be closer to my kids – and closer to doctors that I need to see there.
This has all been very hard emotionally as I waver between thinking about how much I will miss this place in the country, my animals, and my wonderful community of friends in Winnsboro, and believing that this is the right thing to do. It is the right thing to do, and the way some things have fallen into place so quickly, only affirms that for me.
Still, the change is hard and knowing that I am not the only one who struggles with change, I did some Internet browsing and happened upon this article at the Harvard Business Review Ten Reasons People Resist Change by Rosabeth Moss Kanter. She is a professor at Harvard Business School and chair and director of the Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative.
The article addresses change in the workplace, but many of the points can be applied to any kind of change.
- Loss of control
- Everything is different
- More work
- Loss of face
That last one made me pause a moment to see how it applied to my situation. Kanter explained that:
“By definition, change is a departure from the past. Those people associated with the last version — the one that didn’t work, or the one that’s being superseded — are likely to be defensive about it… Leaders can help people maintain dignity by celebrating those elements of the past that are worth honoring, and making it clear that the world has changed. That makes it easier to let go and move on.
When I move from this place, it will be a departure from the past. My face will no longer be the face of a country woman or Theatre Director at the Winnsboro Center for the Arts. Everything will be different and there is a great deal of uncertainty about what my new face(s) will be.
I know a lot about the importance of rituals in dealing with tough emotional situations. Most of that I learned when I put on a new face as a hospital chaplain in Omaha after leaving my old face as homemaker in Dallas those many years ago. But if I had not made that move, I would not have experienced the growth as a person through Clinical Pastoral Education, as well as the blessings of working in a hospital ministering to the sick. Nor would I have met so many friends in two writers’ groups, most of whom still share contact with me.
So I will perform some good-bye rituals when I am leaving my place and try my best to focus on the future and what adventures will await me down the road.
How do you deal with change? With moves? Is it easy for you, or a challenge on many levels? Please do share, and have a great week.