Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Hate-Love Relationship [A Rather Wordy Post]




I think, in being forced to accept and live with that which we most hate, we eventually come to either embrace it for ourselves or shrivel up inside to avoid it.  Take, for example, a well-known story skeleton: a person is forced to work, live, or otherwise interact with someone they don't like, don't get along with, or downright hate.  Maybe a school student is assigned their arch nemesis as a lab partner.  Maybe a businesswoman is given a career-making or -breaking assignment that requires her to work with her least favorite person in the world.  Whatever the case, the story almost always goes along the lines of them hating each other, then learning more about the other and realizing they're actual people and humans too, then actually enjoying each other's company (or at least appreciating the other person.)


It's not just with people and not just in stories, though.  Sometimes a person hates change; some huge transition occurs in their life; and they end up actually liking it and trying out a few other new things.  Sometimes a person is prejudiced against a certain culture or lifestyle, but is stuck living with it and eventually grows to appreciate it.  Granted, in books and movies the endings are generally happy; in real life there are more occurrences of people just getting bitter and angry at life and/or God.

Still, I think these sort of experiences - where we have no choice about the situation, only a choice in how we react to it - help us get to know ourselves, our lives, God, and each other better.  We're forced to reevaluate our current state of being - to take a look at how we're living, acting, growing or not growing.  Sometimes we find something small that needs to be changed - other times it's not so small.  We may see the problem as a challenge or a terrifying flaw - but the situation never allows us to ignore, hide, or forget it.  We're forced to do something about it.

I'm drawing on personal experience and a love of poetry here.  In my literature homework this weekend, I had to read and evaluate the poem "A Prayer In Spring" by Robert Frost.  This is the first half:

Oh, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

It made me think about a poem I'd written on my favorite season.  When I write poetry, it's a random spur-of-the-moment thing; I'm one of the rare and few people who can wait for inspiration to hit and actually get anything written (as opposed to making yourself sit down and write, at which point inspiration eventually comes to you - much more common, practical, and realistic.)  I almost chose spring for my favorite season, but decided fall had a lot more symbolism in my life, since that's PCS season.  (For non-military folks, that means it's the time of year when my family moves to a new base/assignment.)  Anyway, I realized that I went from loving all seasons equally to enjoying the change and crisp life of spring and fall over the lazy heat of summer or lifeless freeze of winter.  I decided I liked the change in the air, the feeling of transition and new things just ahead.

This came as a bit of a surprise to me, because at one point in my teenage life I would have sworn to hate change for eternity.  Now I embrace it.  This morning in Sunday School, we placed a game in which the teacher asked a question and everyone else had to guess what the current contestant's answer would be.  I was asked where I would go on vacation in fifteen years, assuming I'm married with children.  I answered with the first thing that came to mind, but honestly, I'd have taken any single place my classmates answered.  (Which included different beaches, various places in France, Disney, the Republic of Panama, and Hawaii, to name a few.)

In about a month, my family finds out if Dad makes the next Air Force rank or if we have to leave the military.  At our last move, I would have been loath to stick around.  (I did love the people, but I was sick of the place for multiple reasons, none of which included the merit of Okinawa.  It's a beautiful and highly-requested station.  Number one requested, I think.)  The move before that, I was loath to leave.  Now, I'd be happy to stick around and enjoy the people and church here - possibly even graduate here.  Or I'd be happy to move to a new state and have the excitement of new everything.  (I admit, if we're gonna move, a tiny part of me really really hopes it's to Europe.  I have no country preference, just Europe.  But I wouldn't mind a new stateside area, either.)

To sum up a whole lotta words, I've come to love and await the thing I once hated: change.  That's only my example, but I believe it can ring true with anyone.  Whether it's a person, place, situation, or concept that you just can't stop butting heads with, you're more likely than not gonna have to deal with it at some point.  Will you choose acceptance or bitterness?  Only you can decide.

4 comments:

  1. Hmm, maybe I'm just strange, because I have always loved change. I guess it's just part of me, because I tend to get legit depressed when nothing changes, and when I don't see people. I thrive in large groups (especially ones I organized. ;) ). I guess I never really thought about people NOT liking change. It's always been something I WANTED.

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  2. Hey Becki! I know other people who love change, so you're not weird or strange. (Well, you are, but for other reasons we've discovered on Facebook... anyway.) Everyone has things they hate but eventually have to deal with. Those things are just different for each person.

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  3. You're an Air Force brat too?! I remember, when my daddy was still in the AF, how weird it was moving around every three years. Three years isn't enough to make close friends but it's long enough to have the hope of making them. I grew up with change -- didn't like it, but I grew up with it. Eventually, I changed along with the change...and that's been an amazing journey

    I think you've discovered the beauty of change, Emily. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Hey Bailey! I didn't know y'all were AF! :D That's so cool. :) Yeah, my brothers and I are all brats. ;) I know what you mean about change (obviously), although I have to say I did manage to make really close friends during certain stations. I guess we do what we can with the time we're given - something that applies to life, not just the military.

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