If we think back on unplanned change we probably would do something differntly now than the way we handled it then. We probably had options to choose from as well and had reasons for chosing them.
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The past year has been a crazy year of change for me! I moved out of a home and out of a long (ten year) relationship, I booked a national commercial (yay!), and just today I lost one of my jobs (not yay). And on Friday? I'm moving.
Of those, the national commercial/job loss were unplanned -- the commercial was wonderful and a great opportunity. The job loss I'm still reeling with; my gut reaction is to FIX EVERYTHING, so that's what I'm doing!
None of my extensive career plans have worked out. I poured many years of blood, sweat, tears, and brain cells into becoming a doctor. I pulled many all-nighters, and scarificed so much as an undergraduate to be acceped into this program. I put all of my eggs into one basket and had no back up plans, as I was certain that my hard work would pay off. Once accepted into this doctoral program, I struggled from day one. The amount of material and depth of the material was way too much for me to handle. I had to leave the program and was left a mountain of student loans and no job prospects. I'm still trying to find my way.
Having twins was a massive unplanned change for me. Having two children at the same time changes everything about your life! I stopped teaching for a few years to take care of my children, and even now that I am back to work thing are crazy during the school year. I wouldn't trade it for anything, but it has been a struggle at times.
While unplanned change seems to have a somewhat negative connotation, I'll add a positive example of unplanned change's effect in my life. After I graduated from college, I was ready to explore the world and begin my teaching career. I went to Korea and taught there for a year, and after earning my master's degree, I began my high school teaching career. I had the opportunity to travel to Europe several times with students and loved my students and my job. I also really enjoyed being independent. Just when I felt settled into my house, career, and lifestyle, I met my future husband in a completely unconventional manner.
For several years, my students and I had been sending care packages and letters to American soldiers deployed to combat zones. The soldiers were randomly assigned to me through a national organization, and my students and I had never met any of them in person. The sixth soldier that we "adopted" is now my husband. It's a rather long story, but needless to say that when I received his name through the organization and my students and I began sending letters and packages, I had no idea that I was writing to someone who would eventually be my husband. While I certainly didn't plan this major change in my life, I'm glad that I didn't let my more cynical side take over and keep me from trusting that something so wonderful could happen.
The biggest unplanned change came last October when my father died. He'd had a stroke in April, at which time he came close to dying. But, over the summer he went through physical therapy, was learning to walk and talk again, and was doing quite well. We were hopeful of a full recovery. But, The Lord had other plans for him! On October 6th, about 7:30 in the evening while being helped in and out of the bathroom, he started slurring his words and dragging his feet. My mother called his attention to it and he admitted that he felt very strange. That was the last thing he ever said; his eyes rolled back in his head and he collapsed. It was all my mother could do to get him onto the bed and call 911! By the time the paramedics arrived, he was not breathing. They revived him, gave him oxygen, and rushed him to the hospital. Upon arriving at the hospital, he was admitted to the ICU and placed on life support. They did a CAT scan and he'd had a massive cerebral hemorrhage that encompassed at least one-third of his brain. The doctor pointed out that it had occurred in the area that controls the ability to wake up or be conscious. The damage was so extensive that he would never even be able to breathe on his own. There was no brain activity.
The hospital kept him on life support until all of my brothers and sisters could gather and say good-bye. That scene in his hospital room will forever be emblazoned on my memory! Each of us kissed him, held his hand, told him how much we loved him, and said good-bye. There was audible, uncontrolled sobbing in the room; even my husband was crying (and he never cries). Despite the fact that her eyes were red, my mother was ususually calm and composed. She said my dad would not want to remain here if he couldn't be useful, and she made the decision to turn off the machines. Forty-five minutes later, his heart stopped beating and he was gone.
At his viewing, we stood there for five hours as more people than I could have imagined filed by to express their condolences! His life touched so many others and they came from all over the United States to say good-bye. It's still so hard to talk about it (and I'm crying as I'm writing this)!
This is definately the most unplanned change in my whole entire life!
When I was in my fifties, I lost my job as an attorney for the state because of budget cuts. As I went looking for work, I realized that none of the law positions appealed to me at all and that I no longer wanted to practice law. I had lectured at various schools on legal matters and enjoyed that a great deal, so I found a part-time job teaching law classes, enrolled in a master's program, and have been teaching ever since. I enjoyed my years as an attorney, but my life is richer and happier for this unplanned change.
After receiving my Master's in education I thought I was done with school (for a bit). Although had always planned on returning to school to work on my Master's in English, I wanted to take a little time off. Upon getting a new job at a new district, I found that I needed to return to school immediately (in order to teach the dual credit comp class the district wanted me to teach). On top of that, I took over the Drama Club, Student Council and the Sophomore Class Sponsorship. I was most certainly not ready for that unplanned change in my life. In the end, everything worked out. I made it through the next two school years with both my sanity and on the road towards my degree.
The biggest unplanned change for me was when I decided that I was not going to make a career out of being a college professor after all. I was about a year from my Ph.D. at the time, but I was coming to find that I hated the research that went along with being a full member of academia. At that point I sort of freaked out, feeling as if I'd failed at the only real goal I'd had in life.
I don't know that I would have done anything differently because I don't see how you can avoid being freaked out in a case like that. I used that last year in grad school to finish my Ph.D. while taking a bunch of undergrad classes as well to check off all the boxes I needed in order to get a teaching certificate and become a high school teacher.
This question about unplanned change strikes a major chord with me as I had always seen myself as a forgiving person. My son at the time was 4 years old and went with his father to visit his paternal grandparents with his dad. I was at home working on a paper when the phone rang with my husband telling me to meet him at the emergency room. My son had been attacked at the farm by his grandfather's dog and required emergency surgery on his face. The 300 stitches were scary to look at, and grandfather refused to get rid of the dog. Someone else killed the dog months later and we returned to visit the grandparents. When my father-in-law approached me to talk to me, something he had never done before, I told him that I would not talk bad about him, we would bring the children to the farm, but he and I had no more to say to each other. My ideal of forgiveness deserted me and changed my view of myself. He never made another attempt. I really needed to forgive him then to be the Christian I claimed to be. That lesson during the unplanned change of how I viewed myself was never forgotten, and I have tried since to follow that ideal.
Wow! What an ordeal! I really don't know how I would have handled that. I think the pain came from the fact that your father-in-law refused to get rid of the dog. I think that getting rid of the dog when the incident happened would have proved his remorsefulness and his sorrow and his thoughtfulness about what happened.
I think that in order for you to get beyond the negative way that you view yourself now, you will have to make a move to asking forgiveness for your attitude. You need to forgive him and he needs to forgive you, but I think you should make the first move, since you were the first unforgiving party.
My mother, who passed away in 2005, always told me that it did not matter who was right or wrong. What matters is who will be the peace maker. I think that was the best advice she could have given me her whole life because I have used it and have taught my children the same.
Thank you for your response and I pray that things will work out for you and you will get an opportunity to clear the air between you and your father-in-law.
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