by Melissa Taft

by Sue Duby

“The Quiet Exit.” A name daughter Krista crafted for the freeway exit near our townhouse, just four years ago. “You’ll love it, Mom! No traffic and so easy!” And then … it changed.

A beautiful, clapboard, white barn just outside the back gate. Topped by a massive iron weather vane. Pastureland and grazing horses. All surrounded by a white picket fence, so reminiscent of the rolling hillsides and farms we left behind in Tennessee. Worthy of a grateful smile every time I passed by. And then … it changed.

Bulldozers arrived. The barn disappeared in a matter of days. The fence toppled down, the horses vanished and a bleak landscape remained. I grieved the loss of “my barn.” I grumbled when a 3-story apartment complex began to rise. I mentally rated all progress in architectural features, landscape and layout with abysmal scores. Until … my vision began to change.


My eyes fixed on the new mini-lake in the middle of the old pasture. Two fountains send tandem cascades of spray, producing a calming presence. Boulder-laced waterfall drains … no more flooded road to navigate! All encircled by new trees, promising leafy beauty in a few months. Even a new tucked-away side road … my “shortcut gift” to the grocery store.   

No more “Quiet Exit.” Acres of green that first welcomed us to our corner of Northwest Arkansas now sport restaurants, a music amphitheater, office complexes, and gyms. I loved the “old” and then … it changed. Eventually, so did my level of irritation. Grumbling slowed. Wonder arose. Tacos, concerts, frozen custard, and of course, lattes … all less than a mile from our driveway. And my backyard garden, still a quiet oasis in the midst of it all.  

I love change when it’s my idea and my creation. Adventure and “the new” under my terms. All stirring excitement and anticipation of what will unfold. However, when change comes my way by surprise, in the unexpected and without understanding, watch out! I resist. Digging my feet deeper. Reacting. Poised for battle. Looping my thoughts on “how it used to be.” Holding fast to my list of complaints.

Change involves making something different, replacing it with something else, or giving a new course or direction. Alteration, transformation, or substitution. Each time, an opportunity to choose a way forward. Either remaining locked in my frustration, or taking a quiet breath and asking Him to help me see through His eyes. And hopefully, then, to step forward with anticipation into the “new scene”.

When grandsons Jack and Sam arrived, the Dollar Tree became my best friend. Always cheap treasures to discover. So easy for Nana to exercise her gift-giving passion. Delight for me … delight for them. Until … they suddenly became teenagers. Shoes that dwarf mine, with price tags past the “Santa budget.” No more sleepovers in our bedroom, since their sprawling height now requires a real bed. Heart grabbing change, and yet … Conversations go deeper. “Presence” with them matters more than “doing” (especially hanging out at the baseball field). Little things count (“Thank you for the ride” “I love it when you take care of me when I am sick”). Sweet times on the other side of change.

After many years of fielding emails, training volunteers, chasing hurricanes, sailing the seas, and boasting titles, retirement felt so very strange. No longer, “I do ____”, “I work here”, “I am soooo busy!”, but a challenge to welcome the change in season and watch His steps unfold. Now, mostly past the unsettling stage, we see His goodness once again. Time to spontaneously help a friend. The luxury of coffee dates to encourage others in the middle of the day. So many “yes” moments, when kids and grandkids need us. Quiet moments waiting for His next assignment. The wonder of a new kind of richness on the other side of change.

When change lands at our doorstep, may His grace abound in giving us fresh eyes with a heart that says, “I believe you have this in hand, Lord. Show me your plans and purposes. Let my gratefulness overflow for the ‘old’, while trusting Your goodness and love in the ‘new’. “

There is a season (a time appointed) for everything and a time for every delight and event or purpose under heaven

Ecclesiastes 3:1 AMP

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