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For many, if not most of us, September brings to mind going back to school. For students, this can be a positive thing because often summer vacation can get boring after a while and kids miss seeing their friends. Also, with the start of a new school year is the start of a new grade level, new teachers, new routines and new opportunities. For kids, that can be both exciting and scary at the same time, but also something they are used to. Life is anything but stagnant when you are young. As we become more mature we still experience change, but it may not be as rapid and it is not as attached to the calendar as it is for students.

I find it interesting to observe how friends and acquaintances accept change. For some it is something to look forward to and keeps life interesting. For others it is not what they enjoy and every time it occurs they find reasons why it should never have happened. Because it comes along for all of us, maybe how we respond results in how happy or unhappy our life becomes. Of course, what it is that has changed makes a difference in how we accept it. Little ups and downs seldom make a difference in how our days go, but when something major occurs our personalities come through. Unfortunately, with the age demographic of Bella Vista, too often the changes are listed in the obituary column. If there is a blessing in this, sometimes God calls home those for whom life will never improve, and there is truth in the saying "There are worse things than dying." I remember talking with a friend of my parents during the funeral service for her husband. She imparted a message that I have never forgotten when she said, "Because I am here today, I have given him the gift of never having to go through what I am." She was a wonderful inspiration and hopefully I will always remember that.

There are people I know whom I admire beyond belief. Folks, through no fault of their own, experience life-changing situations. Sometimes these changes are not good, but they put a smile on their face and do whatever they can to be positive. Rather than complain about 'oh poor me,' they find something about each day that makes it worth living and they are wonderful to be around.

And even though change is not always our favorite thing to deal with, there are lots of times when we make changes because we are not satisfied with our lives as they are. It may be we want to stop or start an activity that is either one we have grown tired of or one we have always wanted to try. Nobody knows how long we have to make changes and what a blessing to be able to do it when we want to. The changes that are easiest are the ones we choose ourselves rather than the ones forced on us. And what fun to make a new choice and have it be better than we imagined.

We each have our own life to live and I often wonder what folks might say if they were sitting in a church pew at my memorial service. Might they remember the good things I did and how I tried to let God guide my life, or will they wonder why I wasn't a more positive person? Each of us has the opportunity to let the Lord help us through tough times. He is there when we need Him most. I pray I will listen to His message and when my life changes for better or for worse I will put a smile on my face and ask Him how I can serve Him better while I still have the chance. And if He tells me things I need to change, hopefully I will hear His voice and do as He asks. Change can be a good thing and I will try to make it so.

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Jan Burgess moved to Bella Vista in 1995. She considers each day a gift -- although some are more fun to open than others. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Community on 09/07/2016

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