Our family recently entered a pivoting chapter of life- a moment in our family story that will forever be marked as a before and after moment. And within this season, there has been a lot of change.
In complete transparency, I have to admit that I can be a “cranky changer”. I don’t thrive on change as some people do. I like my routines. I like my things put away in their designated spots where they are easily found later. I like my evenings to be filled with warm cups of teas, favourite blankets, and consistent bedtimes. I really, REALLY like my own shower and bed. I would be a very happy hobbit if I lived in Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
As I am currently living in this season of disruptive change, I’ve realised that change requires me to show up to hundreds of decisions, as well as a lot of mourning and letting go. One morning in a moment of complete overwhelm, I reached for my phone, so I could escape reality and self-medicate myself with a social media scroll. As I scrolled, I stumbled across this quote by Heidi Priebe-
“To love someone long-term is to attend a thousand funerals of the people they used to be.
The people they’re too exhausted to be any longer. The people they don’t recognise inside themselves anymore. The people they grew out of, the people they never ended up growing into. We so badly want the people we love to get their spark back when it burns out; to become speedily found when they are lost.
But it is not our job to hold anyone accountable to the people they used to be. It is our job to travel with them between each version and to honour what emerges along the way. Sometimes it will be an even more luminescent flame. Sometimes it will be a flicker that disappears and temporarily floods the room with a perfect and necessary darkness.”
Wow. The poignant line that hit me was, “It is not our job to hold anyone accountable to the people they used to be.” The messy middle is where we transform, but it is also where the people around us transform as well. I hadn’t given those around me permission to change. I was in a hurry to get on with the next chapter, but my ‘cranky changer’ was trying to minimise as much change as possible. In doing so, I wasn’t giving permission to the people around me to change and adjust to.
We make big decisions, but then we have to go through the slow, intentional process of bringing our life into alignment with the new direction. Part of that process is giving the relationships and people close to us permission to change and adjust.
I wanted others to give me permission to change. I wanted them to validate my decision. However, I was really struggling with letting those around me change. When I paused and looked, it became clear that those around me were “travelling with me between each version of myself and honouring what emerged along the way.” But I needed to honour their shifting and changing versions too.
Change changes us, but it also changes those around us. As we traverse through the messy middle, may we have the grace to hold space for all the different versions of ourselves and those we love.