Family Forte: How Moosetracks Helped in Moving by Topher Wiles
“Variety is the spice of life,” William Cowper cheerfully penned in 1785, but I have to wonder if he ever picked up his family to move from one state to another. Had he counseled anyone through the loss of a loved one or a divorce from a spouse? Had he ever tried to calm a young adult starting a new job or a child going to kindergarten? Although some may wax poetic about change, the emotional toll of change is undeniable. Anxiety, fear, and stress are all too common as we ride the emotional roller coaster associated with changes in our lives.
If variety is the spice of life, then I believe life changes are more like cayenne pepper – we want to use it rarely and sparingly.
Yet we do know that change is inevitable. How do we help those in our families who are struggling with a change? How do we bring peace to the family whose quality of life has been robbed through an illness? How do we help an athlete bounce back from a career ending injury? How do we calm the anxieties of great-grandma when she needs the specialized care of a rehab or nursing facility? I pray that the following story helps your family through the many changes that come your way.
“Look, Dad! There’s Scoops!” I think those words are forever seared in my memory because of the peace it brought us during a change. It was a bright spot in an otherwise uncertain time.
We were moving to back to Tennessee. My mother had passed away, my father had a stroke, and Ashley’s grandmother had passed, all while we were living our six years in Indiana. We knew that we were needed back in Tennessee closer to our families, yet our purpose for moving didn’t make the transition much easier. There were too many uncertainties. Will we find an affordable house? Will our new church family like us? Can we find a place to serve in the community? Will the homeschool community accept us? My worry list was long, even for this optimistic and ambitious guy. As a dad, it’s not just me anymore making these big changes. I’ve got four kids and a beautiful wife that I’m dragging through transition as well.
Micah didn’t want to leave his firefighter friend at church, Mr. Steven, who always gave him a mint on Sunday mornings. Gabriel was loathe to leave his homeschool class, a well balanced group of boys he could always find an adventure with. Ethan didn’t want to leave his favorite small business, Scoops, which was a little locally owned ice cream shop where we celebrated special occasions.
As we drove through Sparta after my job interview and thought about all the unknowns, the cry of, “Look, Dad! There’s Scoops!” sounded. The Scoops sign was more than an advertisement for an ice cream shop; it was a blessing, a “God-send”, a familiar sight in a foreign land. We pulled in for a cone, and we all seemed to breathe a sigh of relief and settle into process of change.
Familiarity is the key to making change easier for anyone. If you can help your family connect to something familiar while other things change, it helps aid them through the transition. For a child, it may involve carrying that comforting blanket with them on the first day of school for nap time. For our loved ones moving into a nursing facility, make sure to hang familiar photos from the past on the wall to bring peace in a trying time. For the young professional starting a new job, you can urge them to continue in their same morning routine just like they did in school, with an alarm, shower, coffee, and reading to bring the familiar back to their schedule. For the family moving, try to find a similar park, restaurant, or sweet treat stop that is similar to one back home. You may be surprised at how powerful and comforting these small familiarities can be.
For those of us of faith have been given an extra familiarity tool in our tool box. It’s a tool that never changes, never leaves us, and never forsakes us. Our belief in the saving power of Jesus Christ, in the providence of our immutable God, in the divine presence of the Holy Spirit, is a gift that can see us through the toughest of times. When our families continue in these beliefs, from the time we are wrinkled and red fresh out of the womb till the time we are wrinkled and gray from age, we are comforted by the consistency, stability, and familiarity of those beliefs. Seek the familiar and seek God, and your changes will be blessed.
“I will never leave you, nor forsake you.” – Deut 31:6 & Heb 13:5
The word “forte” comes from the latin word “fortis” meaning strength. Our weekly Family Forte article in The Expositor is the effort of family at CentralChurch of Christ to give your family the love, care, and attention it needs to become a stronger version of itself. If we can help you in any way, please contact us at Central Church of Christ through email, firstname.lastname@example.org, or through our website, www.spartacoc.com.