Thursday, 22 March 2012

Change is a painful process

What follows was written while I was serving as Chaplain to Norfolk Island.  During that time there was talk of Australia 'taking over' the Island, of Norfolk loosing her independent status.

Government House, Norfolk Island.
 Thirty years ago writer M. Scott Peck wrote a best seller, “The Road Less Travelled”.    It started with the often quoted sentence …
Life is difficult”.  Then continues a paragraph later …
Most do not fully see this truth that life is difficult.  Instead they moan more or less incessantly, noisily or subtly, about the enormity of their problems, their burdens, and their difficulties as if life was generally easy, as if life should be easy.”

Life is difficult.  It is difficult because we have to constantly learn to adapt to changes.
All of us have had to make many, many changes.  Most of them have been difficult, sometimes painful but often very beneficial.  Change is part of growing up.  It is part of life.  A healthy person can never stay as they are.
You started life as a baby.  Completely helpless and dependent upon your parents for everything.  It was through them that you interpreted your world.  Was a thing good, or safe?  Over time you learnt to do these things for yourself.   But this is not always easy.  It is very safe being a baby.  Never having to make a decision or do anything for ourselves.  We can never make mistakes.  We always have some one else to blame if and when things go wrong.  Becoming responsible is not an easy process.

Government Administration Buildings, Norfolk Island.
Then we need to learn to speak, to walk, to read and to write.  In time we need to learn to earn our own wages so we provide for ourselves.  We have to learn how to relate to members of the opposite sex.  These are hard and sometimes painful choices and changes that help make us independent adults. 

Then it seems just as you start to get the hang of being an adult, of making decisions for ourselves, our body starts to grow a little older, not as quick or strong as we once were.  The eyes need glasses.  We get tired more easily.  We have to learn to adapt to becoming older.  Again not an easy change for us to adapt to. 

It is in how we cope with difficulty and the challenges these changes bring that our characters are formed.
I have a friend who was a body builder.  He used to “pump iron” at the gym a couple of times a week.  He would work on one part of his body at a time.  Just lifting weights again and again with that same set of muscles until his muscle was torn.  It was the pain of his muscle being torn that let his muscle grow bigger and more defined.   Growth for him always came with pain.

We on Norfolk are facing the possibility of a change of Governance.  It is the hot topic of local discussions.  Everyone it seems has an opinion about whether we will be better or worse of if Norfolk was to no longer be self governing.
There is an even more vital decision we all have to make about governance.  Each one of us at some time needs to decide who rules our lives.  Do we allow God to direct us or do we continue as mutineers, rebelling against God our maker.  The benefits of letting God have control and direct our lives although at times difficult, even painful, is always beneficial, is always character forming, is always good.

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