Thursday, March 19, 2009

Resisting change on a cellular level

I'm allergic to change.

I know this because last month my husband switched cellphone networks. Just like that. Without drawing a pros and cons chart or talking about it for weeks or getting my grade one teacher's opinion. And I was so stressed I thought I was going to be sick. Surprise charges, disappearing benefits we'd taken for granted, disgruntled relatives who were no longer on the same network and couldn't call us for free and therefore would stop inviting us over for coffee - I thought of all the possible side-effects to this deceptively cheap and beautiful new phone. That week I dreamed my husband signed me up for dunk in a Hawaiian shark tank. Switching phones, watching sharks - both got a crazy reaction.

I used to like change. The first 18 years of my life didn't have enough of it. Same town, same bullies, same pressures, same long, cold morning wait for the privilege of standing in the aisle of a school bus. My bed and dresser traded walls every few weeks just to keep me from going crazy with the fixedness of everything in my life that wasn't made of arborite.

When we got married I didn't want to feel stuck anywhere (except with the same guy). We moved apartments every couple years and were always looking for new jobs. A few years ago when I was a pastoral intern I remember agreeing with the leadership books that said the greatest leaders are those who aren't afraid of change.

Now buying a can of paint triggers makes me shake. What if I hate the colour? What if I have to redo it or live with it for 10 years? After the first coat I can't sleep and I feel prickly all over. You move my arm chair to the other side of the room and I feel all upside-down inside. And don't even suggest that I might ever sell my house. God would have to do a huge overhaul of my insides before that would ever happen. (I realize he's good at that and gets a kick out of it.)

I don't like being so uptight. (My husband likes it even less. But thanks to my knack for chicken dinners and my sense of humour he's still here.) Worry takes all the joy out of new things. And we can't stop change. But I've finally created a life, a home, a garden, that I like - it's hard to think about letting any of that go. It really comes down to trust. Do I believe the Truth can set me free even when I'm bound to a 3 year wireless contract in a non-symmetrical living room?

Our house is currently embroiled in garage negotiations. We've been saving up for a garage for a while. But I'm scared we'll spend all that money and then hate it. It won't have the exact same siding as our house - what if they look silly side by side? Or what if it takes away too much of our yard space? Or we get laid off the year after we drain our savings? And if we spend all summer working on it how will that affect our relationship?

Or in the interests of our marriage, maybe we should use the money for a sunroom instead so we have a place to nurture our relationship that doesn't smell like Petro? (But that would require me to change the location of the bookcase and chair in the photo to make room for the doorway.) Better yet, I'll go live at my parents' house till all the renovations are done.

Maybe they'll let me rearrange the drawers in my old dresser.