by Bradly Baird:
Recently, a church calling was cut short by six months because the leadership of the organization where I served decided to implement a complete change in teaching methodology. We—myself and a number of other elders and sisters—received no warning; but were simply informed one day that we would be released the following week and that we should not return again to serve.
This sudden change created a huge hole in my life. I found myself with a bunch of extra time and I also felt a great emptiness because I no longer had access to the tremendous spiritual intensity and blessings that came with the calling. Not only that, but I missed the extraordinary interpersonal associations, both with my fellow teachers and with those that we taught.
Abrupt change happens inside the church fairly frequently. After all, the church is a product of continuing revelation enacted by humans struggling to do their Father's will; and, because we are so very human, we each experience natural emotional and psychological reactions (positive and negative) when the change occurs. Whatever the cause—ward/stake realignments, changes in church policy, ward reorganizations, changes in personal circumstances, alterations to cherished tradition, etc.—we adjust to its arrival in different ways.
Sometimes we experience difficulties with the change. After all, our relationship to the church as an organization, to the people who both inhabit and support the organization, to the traditions of the organization, to the interpersonal socialization, to the meaning of the faith, and to the actions of the faith, forms a tremendously complicated fabric of feeling, knowledge, habit, ritual, and emotion. And, quite often, it can be challenging to separate the threads of that fabric in order to adapt to new circumstances.
But, consider the arrival of change as an opportunity: an opportunity for growth, an opportunity to discover new talents and capacities, and an opportunity to open the mind to possibilities for a different direction in life. The key is to shift mindsets quickly enough to accept the new things and to not dismiss any possibility. Like all things in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, it requires the courage to stand in the face of opposition, otherwise an opportunity may be lost.
"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he is also become my salvation. Therefore, with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation."
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be trouble, neither let it be afraid."
Bradly Allen Baird is the father of two amazing children and has been married for almost twenty years. He served a mission in Finland, though he was really supposed to serve in Uruguay. His professional meanderings include everything from education to economic development, to human capital management in the IT industry (hopefully this one sticks); and spends his Saturdays hanging out with the missionaries in Provo, or racing back and forth between his children's activities in tae kwon do and elite cheerleading. Bradly also survived an MBA program; developed a somewhat limited interest in music, theater, film, urban planning, judaica, liberation theology, politics, israel, and latin american history; studies the influence of graphic imagery on public space; wrote a thesis about Leonard Bernstein, is obsessed with the American Symphonists, and reads publications like The Tablet and the Jewish Daily Forward.
Image credit: Emmanuel Huybrechts (used with permission).