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Revision: Not Just for Writers

“Half my life is an act of revision.” — John Irving

Fall is here with all its signs– and symptoms (allergies, anyone?). There is something majestic about this season. Rather suddenly, the sweltering heat of the late summer steps aside for the crisp mornings of early fall. Way before that happens, the leaves begin to fall from the trees, one here and there, little decomposing reminders of long summer days.

I cannot help but parallel the different seasons with life. In particular, I compare them with the act of change. Change can be a scary thing. Mary Shelly famously wrote in Frankenstein, “Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” There are a lot of unknowns that go along with changes, even the ones that we choose! Even though it can be refreshing to change, it is still hard to adjust. No matter what, there always seem to be some negative stimuli involved in a change. That said, change is an absolute necessity. If we live on this earth long enough we have to do it.

Sometimes it is helpful to try and see change from different angles. Think of a child who needs someone to tie his shoe. He struggles through all of the cute little sayings about bunnies and trees and spends a long period of time walking around with his shoe half tied. At the same time his mother might lament that her “baby is growing up” and get emotional because he no longer needs Mama to tie his shoe. However, after a while she realizes that the change has to happen! She wants him to tie his own shoe, to gain that little morsel of independence. Change is difficult for all involved parties. If you are struggling with a particular change, someone else is on the other side with a comparable difficulty.

I believe change makes life beautiful. Whether we are changing our skill sets, changing our hometowns, or changing our minds, it causes us to grow in ways that we never imagined. If we do not change, we can never become better at anything! “Revision” is not just for writers. We all have to do it! So, my encouragement is simply this: try not to fear change because it is inevitable. As sure as the leaves depart from the trees each fall, change will come in your life too. Will you embrace it?

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