Monday 23 July 2012

A Time for Change

Ever had the feeling of standing on the edge of a precipice? The precipice I'm standing on is called "change."

I'm not that fond of change - actually, I have to be dragged out of my comfort zone kicking and screaming.

Even writing this blogpost differently (first time on my iPad, I'm away from home, it's an unplanned, off-the-cuff post) is making me nervous!

Change, it seems, has taken up permanent residence in the backyard of my life this last year: starting with my dear father-in-law's death, my beloved Dad's strokes and final death to my adorable feline HRH Theodorable's death.

Not all the change has been sad: my niece got married, so I have a lovely new nephew, my second book A LAMP AT MIDDAY was published and I gave up sugar, sweets & cakes for a year to honor my Dad (and I've already lost nearly 20kgs!)

With all that, I thought Change had finished with me. Not so! My lovely mother-in-law is seriously ill and, instead of lolling about in the bush & blessed wilderness of the Kruger Park, we're here in Cape Town spending vitally important time with her.

All this has made me think deep & profound thoughts: why am I afraid of change? Change often sweeps out the old ways and habits, and makes way for the new - a spring clean of the soul. Spring cleans are good, aren't they? They're a lot of work and sometimes we can't see for the dust that's raised (unless you're a better housewife than I am!!)By the time one gets to the last room in the house, one is exhausted and wishing it were all over...but in the end everything is left clean and sparkly, with a great sense of achievement.

Despite my emotional exhaustion at the moment, and despite my anxiety about what the near future holds for my dear mom-in-law (and, by the commonality of their recent widowhood, my own Mom who is still grieving the loss of her soul mate after nearly 60 years together), there is an underlying sense of anticipation.

What will come into my life to fill up all these new shiny spaces in my life? How will I grow and evolve through them? Will I rise to the new challenges that all this change will bring with it?

There is a time for everything...and now is the time for change.

What changes are you experiencing in your life?


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Judy - I do feel for you .. these challenges hit us when we're not necessarily ready - almost certainly not ready. Especially when we need to adjust to their lives first and foremost.

I've had time to consider the future and for that I'm blessed - doesn't mean I'm ready ... but the cobwebs can be cleared and I can adjust slowly while things are tied up.

Now I can take time and plan my life ahead .. Spring clean time has come for me and in many ways I'm grateful that I have a future and can cope .. when life springs things upon us - that's when it is difficult.

I've never been afraid of change - sometimes I don't like it when it's forced on me ... but as my aged aunt noted - there'll be a reason for it: and how right she was.

We count our blessings for the longish lives that have been attained ... and now as you are doing is ensuring that your mother and mother-in-law have the best moments ahead with you and the family.

Clarity and diamond-like carats of the mind will be there for us to remember and tap into - as we continue on with our lives .. dust and all! I'm now dusting gently for the time being!!

Thinking of you - so much has been happening in your family ... it never rains but it pours and that's appropriate these last years in more ways than one ..

Blessings and peace to you and the family ... Hilary

Anne Gallagher said...

I'm so sorry for all your losses this last year, Judy. Unfortunately time sneaks by when we're not looking.

I've heard change is good, but I'm not convinced. It means we have to give up something. And who wants to do that.

However, I see what you mean about change. My daughter and I just moved into a bigger house. Her father has left us again. She's going to a private school 40 minutes a way -- big change there instead of 2 minutes around the corner. I suppose we can go kicking and screaming into it, or just accept it for what it is -- a new opportunity. Who knows, maybe this new house will bring me luck.

Best to you. Congratulations on Book #2.

Birdie said...

Change is scary because it usually means we are losing someone or something we love. Change is the one thing we can count on though. I guess if everything stayed the same life would get awfully dull but I will take dull over a broken heart any day.

I don't have a review of your book yet because I am reading it very slowly so as to enjoy every morsel. You are a gifted writer, Judy.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

HILARY: your aunt was indeed correct, there is always a reason for change. I admire you for not fearing change!

ANNE: I'm so sorry to hear that your change is such a difficult one, particularly as your daughter is touched by it. Thinking of you both in this scary transitional phase and wishing you a sparkly new future ((( hugs)))

BIRDIE: thanks for your kind words about my poetry collection! And yes change does so often seem like a loss, but I try and remind mysellf that change is not necessarily a's just something different (telling myself that doesn't always comfort me but maybe if I say it often enough I'll begin to believe it!) :)

CA Heaven said...

Kids growing up at becoming independent; that's a big change, bot good, and somewhat sad.

Usually I like change from time to time, in particular at work. I work in geophysics research, and have always volunteered for new things coming up >:)

Cold As Heaven

J.B. Chicoine said...

Change is good when you desire it or even control it, but the kind of changes you've been through are unwelcome and of the most challenging sort. I suppose that in the end, if we can gain some kind of perspective, we come out of it, sometimes better for the experience, and sometimes simply holding our own. You seem to be a resilient person and you'll collect what you need to endure and probably come out of it with some amazing refinements to your character!

Jemi Fraser said...

You've had so many rough times lately. I hope mom-in-law is pain-free and as well as can be. *hugs*

Change sometimes scares the pants off me and sometimes I welcome it with open arms. It all kind of depends! :)

Lisa said...

Meg Ryan said something about change in the movie You've Got Mail. I'll google it and be back.

Congratulations on your second book Judy.

Lisa said...

Kathleen-Kelly: [writing to "NY152"] People are always saying that change is a good thing. But all they're really saying is that something you didn't want to happen at all... has happened. My store is closing this week. I own a store, did I ever tell you that? It's a lovely store, and in a week it'll be something really depressing, like a Baby Gap. Soon, it'll be just a memory. In fact, someone, some foolish person, will probably think it's a tribute to this city, the way it keeps changing on you, the way you can never count on it, or something. I know because that's the sort of thing I'm always saying. But the truth is... I'm heartbroken. I feel as if a part of me has died, and my mother has died all over again, and no one can ever make it right.

Bish Denham said...

These have been tough times for you. But you know the saying, the only thing permanent is change. It's really only in accepting, embracing the fact that we have no control that we find peace. It's about being in the present, being here now. The more we cling to things, cling to the past, the less we will live and be alive in the present.

I've had my fair share of loss and death and destruction. But without it, nothing new can be born. For every plant a seed has to "die" and change to become the plant. A flower has to die to become seeds.

Sigh...I'm not saying it's easy, but it is The Way.

Love up on your mother-in-law. Give her yourself, it's all you've got to give. Breathe in, breathe out. Each breath is the only one you know for sure.

PS. Spring cleaning is fine, just realize the rooms will get dirty again! :)

A Cuban In London said...

All I can say is wish you lots of luck with the changes in your life. Congrats on the publication of your book. And please, wish your mother-in-law better from me.

Greetings from London.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

COLD: It was just the other day when my eldest niece was a tiny bundle in my sister’s arms…now she’s a hot shot political analyst in Singapore and a married woman. Definitely good change, but poignant too! But I confess I’ll be the last one to volunteer for anything new (unless it involves chocolate!)

JB: My head keeps on telling me, “Change is good!”, but right now my heart is saying, “Stop! Time Out! Enough already!” But, yes, perspective is what it’s all about – as long as one can keep the thought “this too must end” in mind, somehow one does endure! :) Some part of me does know that, in the future, I’ll look back on this time and know that all had its purpose.

JEMI: All hugs gratefully received, thanks! Mom-in-law is stable and fighting back, which is good news!

OCEANGIRL: Great quote about change. It captures that dichotomy between knowing change is good and mourning what we had to let go to make space for the new!

BISH: That saying is so true!! When I think how, when I was young, I resisted any sort of change with every fibre of my being, at this time I’m practically embracing it whole heartedly (well, not exactly, but you know what I mean!!) I love the analogy of a flower – never thought of it like that before. And, of course, from the new seeds, come the new flowers… and so the cycle of life goes on and on. We spent as much of our days with her as we could and it was a lovely time. We’re back home now, and heard good news yesterday – she’s off the drips! Yay!

CUBAN: Thanks for the good wishes – positive thoughts add positive feeling. I’ll pass on your kind wishes to mom-in-law! :)

A Cuban In London said...

It's here! Your book's just arrived. I can't wait to read it. Many thanks for this lovely gift. I like the cover even better now.

Greetings from London.

Tabouleh said...

OH Judy... I have been away for some time and did not realize how much you have been through... I am so sorry for your pain... change is dreadful... I do not like it and have not gotten used to it even despite having a lifestyle that requires me to get used to it.... it always meant that I will leave something behind or face something I am not familiar with... there are good changes though... like congratulations on your new book release... and your weight loss which is amazing by the way! but the most important changes that we feel uncomfortable with is a loss of a dear beloved occupant of our hearts.... that is the most difficult. May God be with you and your family through this difficult time and may he grant you the strength to face all the changes that we are incapable of controlling. big hugs xxx

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

CUBAN: So glad the poetry book arrived and that you like the cover as much "in the flesh" (so to speak!) Enjoy your time away!

TABOULEH: Thanks for the hugs - much needed! :) And, yes, there are always good changes to celebrate, which put the sad changes into better perspective! The one steadying given is that on some deep level, I do believe that, no matter what happens, it's all part of a Divine Plan that (in some mysterious way) will work out for the best. Sending love and hugs back to you - sorry I've been so scarce too, life has been hectic!

Jan Morrison said...

Life is always in flux and when we are particularly reminded of it, pain occurs. Especially the loss of people and critters we love can be hard. I had a year like that last year when my beloved Dad died. Now we're moving houses having sold our favourite house ever and I am packing up box after box. I think change is envitable and if we can just know the ground is shifting - we won't feel so bad. It is our holding on that causes pain. Sounds like you are doing a wonderful job of balancing with what you've been given.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

JAN: ((HUGS)) on losing your Dad last year. NO matter old we, and they are, losing them always leaves a huge gap. And moving house is way up there amongest stressful life events. You are so right when you say it's not the change that causes pain so much as the clinging to the old that we need to let go. Balance is such a fragile commodity sometimes I think I'm permanently off centre! :) GOOD LUCK with your new house - may it bring many new joys and adventures!

Selma said...

It is very timely that you should write about this because I am also experiencing a great deal of change at the moment and it is dragging me kicking and screaming out of my comfort zone. Loss of a business, two close relatives dying in the same week, my Mum having a pulmonary embolism, my sister's abusive husband finally being put in jail - it has been a maelstrom. But in an odd kind of way it has also cleared the air because I'm not afraid as I was a few months ago. You can survive being pulled out of what's comfortable for you. So even if the 4 horsemen of the apocalypse come riding into town, I'm cool with it. Haha.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

SELMA: Good heavens! Apocalyptic is the word! You can tick every one of the "top 5 life stress factor" boxes! While I'm awfully sorry for all that you're going through, in some strange way, I'm comforted to know I'm not alone! Shall we sing together..."I will survive...oh yeah, I will survive!!" :) (Changed, for sure, but hanging in there!! )

Do hope your Mom recovers well from her embolism - scary stuff, that! :0

(((HUGS))), just because I think you need them!! :)

Jan said...

Sorry to hear your Mum-in-law is sick. I only just saw this post and sorry for the late comment. Doesn't sound like you are ready for the shiny new spaces yet, maybe a bit more rest and recoup? Or maybe I am talking about myself. Changes in my life? Well quite a few but nothing(thankfully) that I shouldn't be expecting. Health changes, age changes, and all that goes along with this. I feel I am afraid to let go and be swept along so I am resisting and fearing. All the while telling myself I am still resting and recouping. Yes emotional exhaustion here too after our very close call over the summer. I hear you when you say you can feel an underlying sense of anticipation. Me too - if we could just be sure that the onslaughts would stop for a while. We can never be sure of that so whilst there is a lull, the time for change is now. Blessings Judy.

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

JAN: So many people are currently experiencing major change and shifts - 2012 is definitely the end of the world *as we know it* for so many people (not quite the earthly apocalypse that doomsayers prophesised, but hugely exhausting none the less for those of us undergoing it) I think the onslaughts will continue for a while (probably til 2015) but I do think 2012 is the peak, and thereafter whatever is thrown at us will have a waning rather than a waxing effect. (Well, that's what I tell myself anyway - have to keep optimistic somehow! :))

Hope your lull lasts long enough for you to get some quality R & R time in!