Our neighbors are having their driveway replaced, which requires the workers to use an oppressively loud jackhammer to break up and remove the cracked and crumbling existing surface to make room for the new.
As I’ve listened the past two days to the hammering sounds and watched the progress being made, I’ve been struck with how much that process mirrors human life whenever change is involved.
Whether you choose change or it chooses you, it’s usually disruptive. Like the jackhammer, it can feel violent and jolting. You may feel substantial parts of yourself or your life being chiseled away. Things long hidden may be unearthed, leaving you feeling violated or laid bare. What was once solid and firm may be turned to dust. And whether you instigated the change and are the one operating the jackhammer, or some other person or force is wielding that tool, there’s no escaping the noise and rattling.
Just as the sounds next door have disturbed my peace and given me a headache, change in your life can be disruptive and messy for those close to you. Rarely do we experience a shift in some important aspect of life without it affecting those we love or spend a lot of time with. Our attitude or outlook may be different, causing an adjustment in relationships. Our behavior, health, or ability may change, causing an adjustment in life rhythms. Or change may involve our departure from an environment or experience, leaving others to fill in behind your or just to miss your presence.
Sometimes, changes are ultimately for the good. Often they are. And even for those changes that seem to have no redeeming qualities, there is often some blessing mixed in—you just might have to look a little harder for it as you sift through the rubble.
And the disruptions that come with change don’t go on continuously or forever. Like the worker wielding the jackhammer next door who stops from time to time to take a break, so too do we get moments of respite even in the midst of the most complicated, enduring periods of change or unrest. These rests allow us to gather our strength to pick the jackhammer back up or get ready for another session of chiseling and chipping away.
Consider: Where in your life do you need some jackhammer action? And if you find yourself subject to jackhammering that you didn’t choose, how can you see the potential for good or renewal?