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Lankard: Be ready to grow

The Talmud says, “Every blade of grass has an angel leaning over it, whispering, ‘Grow, grow, grow.’”

We are not meant to stagnate. We are not meant to repeat the life we’ve already experienced. Yet most of us fear change.

Life brings transitions. Growing older, shifting careers or relationships, health challenges, deaths and the passing of the seasons are just a few. Some are planned, some foreshadowed and some we never saw coming.

Author of "Welcoming Change," James Miller, wrote the book from his experiences of professional burnout and personal unhappiness. He left the pastoral ministry for which he had prepared all his adult life. He left behind his marriage, much of his support system, most of his security and many of his dreams.

In looking back, Miller learned the process took longer than he’d expected. It hurt as much as he’d feared. Sometimes, the way was as dark as he’d ever known. He also learned you can be happy again, sometimes happier than you thought possible, and you can even find meaning in these events, deep meaning.

How a person responds to change varies with each individual. One will see it as a threat and another may decide to explore the possibilities that come with it. Change may be seen as a potential danger or a note of promise. You may treat your transitions as problems that must be borne, with great angst, or you may approach them as challenges that can enrich your life.

We seldom see ourselves clearly, so seeking out the perspective of others you trust can be useful. For some, it is helpful to read and learn from the stories of others — How did they survive? What helped them? What hindered? Where did they find strength and inspiration?

The new year 2020 will bring opportunities for growth. Be ready.

Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Contact her at