growing pains,  Growth,  Life

Coffee, Kenny Loggins, and Unexpected Changes

Change is not something that I welcome, or even handle very well. Yet here we are, surrounded by changing times and changing experiences.

This random combo is just another example of the unexpected changes in life these days, particularly Wednesday nights. I had just dropped my teenagers off at church. Their youth group leaders planned the highly anticipated “Water Games” for the evening . A thunderstorm was threatening in the distance, and raindrops began tapping the windshield as soon as I pulled away from the parking lot.

Well played, God.

Youth group is meeting again, and this has been the absolute highlight of the summer so far. Our mid-sized church has an active youth program that fits nicely into my idea of the “just right” category. There are enough kids to keep it going strong, but it’s not so big that everyone’s a stranger.

My girls have been looking forward to this day ever since life came to a screeching halt back in March. Finally, with restrictions in place, the youth have begun to meet again in person. The kids wear masks and stand six feet apart (okay, they mostly stand six feet apart.) They meet outside in the grassy area just south of the building. And they couldn’t be happier.

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On Wednesday nights in a past life, I would drop them off and race down the street to the nearest Starbucks. With my laptop snugly nestled in my backpack, I would order my Tall Flat White and quickly settle into a corner table where, for a glorious hour and a half, I pounded out as much writing as I could. It usually felt a bit rushed, though. My mind sorted through a never ending to-do list waiting for me once my writing time was up. Dinner and homework and laundry…just a typical weeknight.

Still, I came to cherish Wednesday evenings. Not only were my girls gaining spiritual guidance and fellowship, but I was able to find time to work on something that truly gave me space to breathe and process and create. The coffee fix was a happy little bonus.

But now, Wednesdays look quite a bit different. Just like life in general looks different. As we anticipate what school will look like in the fall, I find myself getting anxious about all of the possibilities.

Will they get to eat lunch with their friends? Will they have to wear a mask all day? Will there be homecoming and football games and sporting events and prom? Will they have nothing but sad memories of their high school years that cause them endless trauma throughout their adult lives that no amount of counseling or chocolate can cure?

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My flare for the dramatic is never more on point than in situations out of my control. I hate change. I loathe and despise it with every ounce of my being. But if I step outside of my head for a bit, I can think of many times when embracing change resulted in some pretty great experiences.

We moved to Colorado from Texas four years ago, and it has been an incredible season of growth for all of us.

I quit frying my hair with a flat iron every morning and embraced my natural wavy locks during quarantine and let me tell you, that was a game changer.

I changed careers in my 40’s, and each time I realize that I’ve been given the opportunity to live out a lifelong dream, I could tear up just thinking about it.

Change is inevitable. And growth happens when we’re uncomfortable. So you could say that the entire human population has been given an opportunity to grow like they’ve never grown before. I can’t wait to see what we take from it.

That particular Wednesday night looked different than it had in the past. I found myself in a half empty parking lot listening to the rain and sipping a delightful, new concoction I discovered affectionately named Raspberry Truffle. That wasn’t an option on the Starbucks menu. Just sayin’.

I also discovered that some radio stations refer to 80’s and 90’s music as “classic rock” and “retro.”

It hurt my feelings for a minute, but I realized it’s just another example of how nothing stays the same.

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I hold on to a lot of fear and worry. As if recycling the same scenarios over and over in my head will eventually control the outcome.

But sometimes I’m able to let it go and realize that just because something is unknown or different doesn’t mean it’s going to be bad.

Sipping coffee, alone in my car, actually felt relaxing. I didn’t feel rushed to produce something in an quick hour and a half. I was able to just sit, pray, and listen for God’s voice.

And that was nice for a change.

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