“This I Believe”

If you’re one of our readers, we apologize for being MIA the past several weeks. It’s very much been a time of transition for our little family.

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I (Lesley) was blessed to receive an offer for the Preschool Coordinator position at Velocity Church, where we have been active members and volunteers. Andy is no longer in the journalism field, and is now enrolled as a fulltime student at Greenville Tech, where he is pursuing a degree in applied science for the physical therapy assistant program. We’ve also just moved into Andy’s grandfather’s house, which is located in a nice, quiet neighborhood that is perfect for runs together.

The last few weeks have been a blur of packing up our old townhouse, moving into our new (well, new to us) home, getting acclimated to my new job, getting Andy back into the swing of things in college (it’s been six years since he was last a college student), painting and fixing up the house, and trying our best to get to the gym when we can.

After successfully establishing some semblance of a routine and stability, we’re just now able to reflect on the inevitability and positivity of change. The past year, as you all know, has been a period of unrivaled transformation for both of us, and the last few weeks have been just the latest steps for us toward even more positive change.

Recently, Andy touched on the beauty of change and his personal perception of it for a school assignment. The English class assignment, a simple, brief, 500-word essay entitled “This I Believe,” required him to defend a personal belief, and I think it perfectly sums up his transformation over the past year. I thought I’d share it with you all:

This I Believe: The Necessity and Inevitability of Change

Despite the stubbornness inherent in all of us, people can change. Just as any organism must adapt to survive, just as the seasons inevitably change, so can we.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, the famous 19th century American poet and lecturer, shared my admiration with an aquatic creature known as the chambered nautilus, a mollusk that owes its very existence to the idea of change.  In order to grow, the tiny organism must grow into its expanding, spiraled shell, sealing off the chamber in which it had been living in order to move forward into its new home – the newer, larger chamber. The result produces beautiful, glimmering, spiral shells, but most importantly, the practice of ditching the old for the new is what allows the nautilus to thrive. The creature goes so far as to seal off the old chamber of its life to prevent it from ever going back deeper into its shell. Holmes writes in his poem “The Chambered Nautilus” ;

“Still, as the spiral grew,

He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,

Stole with soft step its shining archway through,

Built up its idle door,

Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.”

I, too, appreciate the need for change. As a professional journalist for six years, I did relatively well for myself. I won statewide press association awards for feature writing, news feature writing, best series of articles, and also was named the 2009 Media Professional of the Year by the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence for my reporting of the growing domestic violence problem in the Upstate. But as the years added up, and as the hours got more hectic, I grew to hate the lifestyle I was leading. I was emotionally detached from my wife and young son. I drank too much. I felt like my life had plateaued, and I seriously doubted my ability to do anything further with my talent for writing – which I was sure for years was the only talent I ever truly had.

I was also stagnant in my faith. Named “most likely to be a preacher” in high school, by my mid 20’s I considered myself agnostic, and abhorred religious certainty others in this part of the country espoused. Recently, however, I changed everything in my life. I’ve become an active member at a local church, where I’ve met many new dependable, encouraging, and supportive friends. I’ve recommitted myself to my physical fitness, either lifting weights, swimming, or running every day of the week. I don’t drink. I eat healthy. I’m more positive than I’ve ever been – a big leap for someone who suffered from diagnosed clinical depression for years.

Of course, one of the biggest changes is what brings me to the class which assigned this paper to begin with. I have left the world of journalism, and I’m now pursuing my associate of applied science for physical therapy assistant at Greenville Tech. Despite my stubbornness, pessimism, and self-doubt, I’m now taking the steps to a new, better life.

Anyone can change. The book of Acts in The Bible describes how Saul of Tarsus, who once persecuted Christians, became one himself (changing his name to Paul), and in doing so, transformed into one of the most recognized authority on the teachings of Jesus. If we all take the time and effort to be in charge of the way our lives change, I firmly believe the finished product will be a profoundly different, better existence.

Speaking of changes, there are many to come on our blog. We have participated in several races that we will recap, including:

-YMCA Family Dental Health Run 4 Fun (SPOILER ALERT: One of us set a new PR!)

-Runners for Boston (all 3 of us participated in this event)

-Swamp Rabbit 5K (this was a horrible experience!)

We’ve also registered for our June running events (our first 8K runs), added new goals to our “bucket list” and have product reviews on the way!

Tell us what you think of Andy’s essay. What are some changes you’ve experienced that you don’t mind sharing? Please leave your comments in the section below, and be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

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