As I reflect on 2016, I’d like to share a few experiences of change. What I’ve come to know about living is that change is inevitable. Change is hard. Change, it’s a part of life.
A few months ago I was reminded that everything that I believed to be secure isn’t. I realized it was time to venture on from my job once again. The time came to wander onto the next place. I’d learned everything that I was going to in my job. I was hurt because I believed in the security, I bought into the safety. I believed I could see my life into the distance with the same job. I saw ordinary days, piled on ordinary days.
Eventually, my last day at work came. I was alone in my office. My going away party was done, with all the well wishes and promises to stay in touch. I sat there and packed my thoughts and gathered my things. I prepared for where life was gonna take me next. I was kind of afraid, but I was excited for another adventure. I’d learned as much as I could at that job and I know, change is inevitable.
Recently, my sister and I spent some time talking about when we left home, the Reservation. Leaving was one of the hardest decisions we made. We left the familiarity of family. We left the environment we knew. Change was necessary. We moved to pursue the opportunities for work. With the blessing of our parents, we embarked on making our lives here in Minneapolis.
It has taken us awhile to get settled into our lives here in Minneapolis. Initially we were home sick and went home often. After a while, we established our lives here. We have friends who have become family. We found a supportive community. Our lives are filled up with many things here, so we don’t go home as often as we’d like. As my sister and I sat visiting, we fell into quiet reflection remembering how difficult the change was, but how far we’ve come. We both agreed that we’d do it again.
In times of change, the content of a person’s character is revealed. If you unprepared for it then it’ll be a difficult. I say this because some people use alcohol or drugs to numb the quandary of change.
People get caught up in addiction. Addiction is heart wrenching and devastating to witness. It’s a horrible experience when it’s someone you love, or someone who is fundamental to who you are, ie. parents, siblings, relatives, a partner, a lover, your best friend, etc. You listen. You help. You offer support. You assist. Until one day, you realize that you are drowning with them. You’re gasping for air. You stand up while they continue to thrash about. They tug and pull at you. You’re desperate to hold them up.
It’s instinctual, it’s you or them. Letting go feels like failure. Letting go feels like loss. Letting go is filled with guilt. When you finally let go they interpret this as betrayal. They scream at you. They say horrible things to you. They say horrible things about you. They tug on your values to get back in your good graces and to rejoin them. Sometimes, you falter then find yourself caught up in the throes of their addictive cycle.
Eventually, you mourn the loss of them. Their words haunt you. Their addiction becomes too much to bear. It’s a difficult lesson when you realize that their darkness, their dark day of the soul, their struggle belongs to them.
Guilt from abandonment becomes your unwelcome friend. Sometimes, there are momentary glimpses of the person you know. They are vibrant. They are alive. They are themselves. It is momentary. The day they die everything comes crashing down. Often times, their death is at their own hands, or as a result of a lifestyle they are caught up within, or as a result of someone who is caught up with them in that lifestyle. You pray they finally found comfort in death cause their life was wrought up in pain.
n time, you sit along their grave, so to speak, then you tell their story. You share the times they were awe inspiring, life changing, and the person you knew before addiction. Their story becomes a cautionary tale. Drugs or alcohol took them way too soon. Their story, their life, changed you.
I’ve learned that change begins to ignite each time a person lives their ordinary lives doing extraordinary acts to be themselves. Those moments occur without public fanfare. Each and every moment you are becoming who you are called to be, now that is revolutionary.
2016 is gonna be another incredible year, another opportunity, another chance to be better, to do better, to accomplish more, to hold my loved ones closer…Change is amazing. Change is inevitable.