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For Your Marriage

Dennis and Mary Jo Weiss have been married for more than 30 years. They write about a shared love of nature, prayer, and their children and grandchildren from their home in Hamburg, New York.

Making Peace With Change

Sometimes change comes in small doses, like a gentle breeze. And sometimes the winds of change gust at hurricane force!

By the time June rolls around this year, almost every member of our immediate family will have experienced a major life change, either in the form of a new job, new city, new place to live, or new state in life (i.e. Dennis’s retirement). The empty nest has arrived!

“Adjusting” is the operative word of the day in our family.

There is a roller coaster of emotion that can accompany change. Some of the changes have brought joy, like having our oldest daughter Caitlin return to the area with her husband Steve and our grandsons. But for them, there is an element of the unfamiliar as they adjust to life in a new city and leave dear friends behind.

Then there are the tearful good-byes that sometimes go hand in hand with accepting a new opportunity. Recently, our daughter, Cara, left to begin a good job in a southern state. It is difficult at those times to overcome the heart pangs we feel when someone we love is far away.

These and other family changes had me reflecting the other day in my morning prayer on the best way to help those I love with the adjustment to all this newness. And I was reminded of a simple phrase my mother used to say when I was a teenager overreacting to something that I had to adjust to. She would remind me that “God is still on His throne.”

I laughed out loud when I thought of this because I seldom liked to admit that she hit the nail on the head when I lived under her roof, but when it comes to dealing with change, she did have something there!

By nature, I can be somewhat resistive to change. But it is unhealthy to cling to the familiar, and the growth that will happen when we move past our fear of change is only something we will see later in retrospect. Should my children not experience this?

Change is a part of this world, a sign of life. A family is not static, but rather a dynamic community of people whose lives are being guided and directed by the Divine as they seek Him. If I resist the things that change, I may find I am in a struggle with God, who is moving us all to where we need to be in the long run. With patience and trust, I can be excited and hopeful for the doors that open in the lives of my children, knowing that these opportunities are there for their discernment and pursuit.

As a family, it is important that we be especially kind and sensitive to one another during times of transition in life. Everyone has been very good about reaching out to let the others know that they are thought of, loved, and missed.

And as a Catholic family, our unity is found in our practice of the Faith. We are never closer than when we are receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist and celebrating Mass, though we may be in different locations.

Mom, you were indeed a great theologian, because you reminded me of one of the most comforting attributes of God. In a family, we can hope forever that things will remain as we want them to be, but we cannot delay the onset of years. We can only entrust them to One who is outside of time, One who never changes.

So, God is indeed still on His throne. Mom and Dad are here at home, which is and always will be the home of all of our children as well, where they grew and became young women and a young man. I still arise and say my prayers for each of them every morning, and when they visit I will spoil them a little with something good to eat.

But their lives are now their own to direct as they choose. I hope they choose wisely, and ask for God’s guidance. Perhaps someday, when these earthly separations are done, we will all meet together in the throne room…