How Do You Find Refuge in Change?

Interesting question isn’t it?  How do you find sanctuary, protection, a sheltering place in change?  How do you find refuge in transformation, modifications or transitions?

In her book, Refuge An Unnatural History of Family and Place, Terry Tempest Williams raises this question to her family upon learning that her mother is dying of cancer.  At the same time the waters of the Great Salt Lake rise to record heights threatening the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge with it’s herons, owls, and snowy egrets that Williams had come to gauge her life by.  As these two events unfold simultaneously, the author finds answers and strengths interweaving in the narratives of dying and accommodation.  She witnesses again the power of nature over the lives of humans pointing out that nature is too powerful to be contained by technology.  The birds at the sanctuary accommodated the change where the humans became immobilized by it.   Refuge transforms tragedy into a document of renewal and spiritual grace. 

I believe you find refuge in change by learning to adapt to it.  Fighting change is useless and leads to frustration, heartache, and burnout. Refuge is found within yourself and your own capacity to adapt as the world is adapting around you.  Williams reminds us that we find new configuration, new alignments and new structure born out of change.  Times in my life when I’ve made the biggest amount of growth have coincided with times of biggest change in my world.

Volumes have been written on the subject of change.  I found these quotes to be telling and entertaining.

Benjamin Disraeli, British statesman, novelist and Prime Minister, tell us “Change is inevitable in a progressive country.  Change is constant.”

“All you know of it for certain is that it’s bound to change.”  Bret Harte, American poet.

Washington Irving, American writer in Tales of a Traveler informs us “There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse . . . it is often a comfort to shift one’s position and be bruised in a new place.”

“Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.”  Samual Johnson, English poet

“If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies.”  Author Unknown

”It is not necessary to change.  Survival is not mandatory.”  W. Edwards Deming 

“When you are through changing, you are through.”  Bruce Barton

My Bush project continues to grow and change. That is a good sign that as of yet I’m not through.  By the time you are reading this, the new website for Voices of Hope should be up and running.  You can find it at .  I hope you will stop by and take a look.  I am extremely pleased with the beautiful results achieved by the design team from AIMedia Solutions (  Cindy Hoffman of MacMcGoon Portrait Design Studio ( donated her time and talent as a photographer to produce five of the incredible images for the website.  Putting it altogether the new website for Voices of Hope should be an outstanding tool for getting the word out regarding the breast cancer DVDs.

The breast cancer support group finder will be included on the website as part of phase two.  The design team from AIMedia Solutions called me last week with this question;  “If you were king/queen of the world, what would you want this support group finder to do?”  My dream has been to have an online tool where someone newly diagnosed with breast cancer could enter in their zip code and up would pop all of the breast cancer support groups in their area – within a twenty five mile radius.  After discussing a few more details, they informed me that they would be building such a tool and donating it to the website.  Words failed me and if you know me you know that doesn’t happen very often.  Work has started on the tool.  It will take time to gather the information for the database.  My plan is to start with the Minnesota support groups and move outward from there.  The tool itself will have an area where support group data may be entered for submission to the site.

One final little story I’d like to share with you.  For several weeks, I have been having trouble hearing out of my right year due to a blocked Eustachian tube left over from a sinus infection earlier this winter.  I was feeling rather down and disgruntled and a whole lot frustrated with the entire thing.  As a volunteer for the American Cancer Society in the Reach to Recovery program, I’m called upon from time to time to respond to someone newly diagnosed with breast cancer.  Generally it is a phone call to help them answer any questions they may have.  These are not medical questions but rather more emotional kind of things.  “I’m so afraid.  How will I ever get through all of this? Does it really hurt?”  Being of help to someone else is a sure cure for my own blue feelings so I decided to accept the referral and make the call.  I visited with Sue for about an hour in which she explained that she was blind, lived alone, had lost a sister to breast cancer twenty years ago, had a borderline personality disorder, and that her remaining sister told her that she got used to living without eyes now do the same with breasts.

Her surgery was scheduled for 11:30 a.m. and she was afraid that her surgeon would be hungry and/or sleep deprived and would make a mistake.  Very quickly into the conversation I realized how very fortunate I was for circumstances in my life in spite of my plugged ear!  I began to pray for Sue to experience some calm, reassurance and peace.  I still cannot hear out of my right ear but I received some of that calm, reassurance and peace as well.  I’m so glad that I was here to respond to Sue’s call.

How Do You Find Refuge in Change?

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