Lately, I’ve witnessed and experienced several life-changing events. Last week I was 1 minute behind a major traffic accident. A car was flipped over on its side, the driver was still inside, and the police had not arrived yet. I can’t imagine how that person’s life has now changed. (I stayed long enough to offer assistance, and thankfully, the woman was still alive.)
Then this week a family friend passed away unexpectedly. He was golfing alone on Sunday, and somehow had an accident with his golf cart. He was not found for several hours, and subsequently was declared brain dead. His family chose to take him off life support later in the week. Again, a sad, sudden and extreme reminder of how tenuous life can be.
As another, more personal example, a couple of months ago, my own life took a turn rather suddenly too, and my life has changed forever as a result. And that’s ok. It’s been challenging, of course, but I know it’s part of “the plan,” as it were, and I am doing my best to live and let go. Here’s the thing: I have realized in recent days that I have a choice. While I didn’t get to choose what happened that made everything change, I DO get to choose how I go about dealing with it and what I do from here. And that knowledge has made all the difference.
One of my favorite songs from ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ includes the phrase, “the only thing constant is change.” And that is one of the most reliable facts of life, aside from death and taxes. So if that’s true, why do we fear change so much, in general? I believe that it’s because we don’t know what we don’t know until we know it. Yes, that’s a confusing sentence, but let me break it down:
“We don’t know what we don’t know,” – that seems obvious; “until we know it,” –that’s the tricky part. The fact is, change brings about experiences, which in turn brings about lessons, which brings about knowledge, which leads to growth, understanding and compassion. Change is challenging because of the unknown. However, if we return to that which we know to be true – which is the fact that we can CHOOSE how we deal with something – then the ‘unknown’ is no longer a factor. Because, as the above examples demonstrate, everything is actually unknown and life can change in the blink of an eye. What matters is how you choose to live in the moments after the blink.