The only constant in life is change. -- unknown
Change is the law of life. -- John F. Kennedy
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. -- Serenity prayer, regularly used by 12-Step groups
Change makes me uncomfortable. Like many people, I function best with consistency, predictability and routine. I like to know what to expect, and love both creating my daily to-do lists and the satisfaction of crossing off duties when they're finished. But after almost five decades on the planet, I'm wise enough to know that change finds all of us, constantly, no matter how hard we try to outrun it. We can't know for sure what the future will bring, who will still be walking alongside us a year from now, what careers or partners our children will choose. Still, despite all that is unknown and uncertain, I find reminders of the certainties that pervade my world--the birch tree on the corner that begins to flame red each September, the vibrant pink peonies that burst from our backyard bush for a scant two weeks in early summer. The sun's predictable slant through my bedroom window each afternoon, and the mint that grows wild through our garden each spring, intoxicating the entire courtyard with its refreshing scent. Annual school supply lists, prom season, holiday traditions. Then there are the less pleasant repeats -- the Christmas decorations that appear in stores before Halloween, quarterly tax bills, twice-yearly dental visits. Whether we anticipate these rituals with excitement or anxiety, we are reminded that patterns that make up our lives, loops of sameness, then difference, newness and consistency. As changing as the ocean waves, as predictable as the tides.