Monday, July 14, 2008


This is a different post for me for it poses no answers, no self-discovery, no “aha’s”. It is an appeal for insights, of which I am finding elusive at the moment.

Chandler came back from camp this weekend. Along with stories of cliff jumping, tubing, and extreme sports tournaments came accounts of spiritual growth. I remember returning from summer camp when I was young—the amazing spiritual “high” from that week would bolster my spiritual walk for several months. What I remember most was the compulsion to change my life in “real” and remarkable ways. I would make lists of what I needed to change to become a more dynamic Christian. On the list would be things I needed to stop doing, start doing, and augment to fit my new aspiration. My life would begin to transform and real change would take place. I had a mission; a purpose and it seemed effortless to act on its behalf.

These recollections, and yesterday’s sermon, got me to thinking about “change” in general. Change is difficult and the older we get, the more difficult it becomes. I have always enjoyed the stimulus of change, yet as I age it becomes less and less enjoyable. Conceivably this could be because I don’t mind change, as long as it is of my design and control, but if it comes from some external source--I tend to recoil from it.

When change is crucial, I don’t believe that it can be mandated. It can’t be browbeaten into submission. It can’t be preached at, coerced or commanded and expect to be effective. Change must come from within us. We must somehow make a choice to become the conduit. I do believe we can be led to change; motivated to change, and even inspired to change (as often was the case at summer camp), but our hearts must be open first.

My question is--how do you initiate change? How do you become, as Mahatma Gandhi believed, “the change you want to see”? How do you reconstruct that “summer camp” experience to inspire spiritual change? How do you reclaim purpose and continue with the excitement and hope that should be found in the Christian community and most importantly whose responsibility is it?


Anonymous said...

Hi Marsha...I hope you don't mind me commenting?

I think when that spiritual experience becomes part of you, as a person, than change is effortless..and it grows with you.

It will become part of your persona....

I am not a religious person at all, but I am spiritual. Change comes from the depth of my soul...but of course the brain has to support it.

So only feeling it, the spiritual connection, it's not actually have to get things in order to do it.

Well, my perspective.....


Anonymous said...

Ah yes. Change. Elusive change. Regardless of the impetus, change is extremely difficult to initiate and sustain.

For myself, I have so many things that I want to change it becomes overwhelming and it all just fizzles.

Those changes that do happen start with a small step, then another small step and I just try to keep it going. If I can, it eventually sticks.

Successes are always a great thing to build on too.


Anonymous said...

Never went to camp. Catholics didn't do that sort of thing back in the day.

As an adult we are expected to be searchers and self-starters where change is concerned but most often it is the big events in our lives that trigger change. We need a catalyst to rock the status quo after a certain point.

My food allergies for example are pushing me towards veganism. Not easy and I stumble a good deal but I am finally making real progress on the truly healthy eating front.

Marriage and being an immigrant have pushed me past my fears (of success ironically) to writing. Now I must dig up your old post on organization to help me in my current quest to frame my day for maximum effect.

Have you thought about a retreat for yourself? I would love to have attended Blogher this coming weekend but the stars unaligned for it. But it would have been a rev-up experience to be around other women writers.

There are conferences too.

Even we adults need "camps" of our own. I remember reading in O about a group of writing friends who planned their own weekends at different locations to read and workshop their current projects. A close friend goes on summer long weekends every year with her old college friends for the past 20+ years.

I get inspired from reading too. Books. Articles. Blogs. I figure that someone out there has done it before me and if I look I will find her/him.

Look, you are a runner now. (I am on my way to being a yogina). That's a deep change. If you can do that, you can find a plan to put other things into practice.

Marc Abla said...

I actually love change. In fact, my problem usually lies with too much change. I have to make sure it is not change for the sake of change, but change with a purpose. Shoot, I am even blogging about change.

In the end, I beleive most people do not mind purposeful change after it is over and the success is achieved. It is the time of grumbling we have to move past and take some responsibility for trying to look at the outcomes, the future of what purposeful change can bring.

Ali said...

I agree with you Marsha that you have to be open to change for it to happen without anger.

My thoughts are that accepting the axiom that nothing stays the same forever, even the things we want to stay the same forever. God being the exception to this of course!

Accepting this inevitability does 2 things for me. It makes me appreciate the things I like just as they are, while they are just as they are. It also creates a thought pattern that acknowledges change as the normal course of things which helps avoid the feelings of anger that can arise from unexpected and unwanted change.

Being Christian is about seeking change which in middle age I find tiring.....