By Tracy Griess
Lately I have been wondering if we take time to reflect as much as we should. Is a time of reflection and then response something that we should be actively doing? As I have been looking back at the last 18 months, both personally and professionally I have experienced a lot of change. Change has been one of the most commonly used words in my vocabulary. So I paused recently to think about what that actually has meant and how I responded to it. I think, to learn from the journey, we have to evaluate and be willing to look back just long enough to stay on the path.
As many of you reading this know, it was just over a year ago that I went through a cancer diagnosis and treatment. I am happy to report that I am still cancer free and things look good. I can honestly say however, that is one of the least consequential changes in my life in the last year. That was sort of the kick off to a period of time when life has seemed like a roller coaster. Just when you think you are on the straight away, there’s another hill or another free fall. I am sure almost everyone can relate to this on some level.
So is that it? That’s all you got, so-to-speak? If you are reading this and we attend the same church, you can definitely relate to the roller coaster of change. As a church family we have experienced some ups and downs in the last year. In my personal life I have experienced several health related diagnoses with my parents and Jason’s parents. My middle son has graduated and will soon leave for college which changes the dynamics in my home. Do I love this? No, but this is simply part of the next phase of life. Do I love that my parents are dealing with health issues? No, but this is simply part of life. I have to wonder, is it really that simple?
As my son graduated, this brought many opportunities to interact with family I don’t get to see very often. Our graduations are sort of an opportunity for a family reunion. This particular graduation season was no different and I had several very meaningful conversations and interactions. I spent time with people who have been important to me my entire life. While life has taken us to different states, different jobs, experiences and perhaps different ways of life, there were so many times I found myself interacting with people as if no time had passed at all. The beauty of social media makes it clear that many of us don’t see eye to eye on issues of politics or religion and everything in between, yet none of that seemed to matter. So I wondered, why not? Why were these times great even though . . . and you could fill in the blank with so many things. And at the heart of it was family. At the heart of the interaction was love.
Is it really that simple? Faith. Family. Love. I think it is. I think the reason change doesn’t seem to strand me at the top of the roller coaster is that I have faith that, no matter what I know, I serve a God who is 100% always on time. While I may not have been born into this particular church family at FFC, it is just that. This is my church family. Family sticks together and when things get tough we just stick it out together. We must learn to grow together, change together and look back just long enough to stay on the path that God has. And with our own individual families, it is very much the same. As believers, God has called us to something different. Much like with our children, God has different expectations for us. And we simply must rise to the occasion. There really isn’t a choice. And while we will still go through trials, doubts, and even worry, it really is that simple. Faith. Family. Love. If Jesus is at the heart of every interaction, it really should be that simple. Have I responded perfectly in the face of all of this change? Of course not. Have I looked in the rear view mirror just long enough to learn? I hope so. I would challenge you to glance back just long enough to stay on the path. Ask God to show you where you might make a change. Ask God to remind you that it really is that simple. If Jesus is really at the center, you may free fall, there may be a hill, in fact, He says there will be. But He will show up. He is 100% always on time. Sometimes it takes a moment of quiet reflection to remember that. Take that time. Reflect on God’s faithfulness.