While in Pennsylvania visiting my family last week, I had lunch with a friend who had just graduated from college. “I was ready to graduate,” she said, “but I’m scared because I don’t know what’s next.” Ah, the great paradox of graduation—wanting desperately to spread your wings, but being terrified to actually fly.
Graduation, I think, is a concrete example of one of the great mysteries of the human person: we desperately desire change while simultaneously hating it. But the thing about graduation and all change is that we can’t avoid it.
I once had the pleasure of talking to Fr. Michael Scanlan, a very wise and holy priest. I was rambling on about how I had just moved across the country to start law school in Florida. I expressed to him how challenging life had been since graduation because so many things had changed. He responded with a nugget of wisdom that I will never forget: “The only thing that’s constant in life is change.” What truth!
To take Fr. Michael’s wisdom even further, I think that not only is change constant, but it is incredibly needed. The Lord works in change. In the Book of Revelation, the Lord says that if we are lukewarm, he will spit us out of his mouth. The Lord has no taste for complacency.
The Lord desires his followers to be radical, to have the zeal and the courage to effect change and live a life of constant conversion and betterment of self. The Gospel shows us just that. Reflect on the story of Christ. Just when his apostles were getting used to living in physical day-to-day communion with Christ, he pulled a radical change on them and was crucified, died, and rose, leaving his earthly ministry behind.
No doubt this change hard on the apostles. Scripture tells us they hid because they were afraid of what was next. Was this change needed? Definitely. The Lord knew that his followers were growing complacent and that the radical change of his passion and resurrection was needed to help them grow more into the men and women they were called to be. After working through the difficulty of change, the disciples flourished and proclaimed the truth of the Gospel across all nations, forming the foundation of the Church.
Think back on the biggest instances of change in your own life. Those moments were difficult, right? But, given the chance, would you take them back? I think all of us would give a resounding no. Those moments, despite how challenging they might have been, are the moments that have shaped and formed us the most.
Instead of being afraid of change, I challenge you to see change as an opportunity to grow more into the woman that you are called to be—whether you are graduating from high school or college, or just beginning; moving up a grade or starting a new job, Next time you’re facing change, pray this simple prayer: Lord through this change, how do you want to change me?