Finding Refuge in the Constant

There are always mixed emotions when you’re making changes in your life and entering a new phase. Excitement, fear, joy, trepidation, wonder, uncertainty and doubt are amongst the myriad of feelings that comes to mind. With big decisions come big emotions, and the emotional ebbs and flows often feel less like the changing of the tide and more like tidal waves.

In the last 15 years I’ve moved cities 8 times, changed schools or jobs 11 times, and faced a marriage followed by divorce. You might think that I would be acclimated to making big decisions and familiar with the emotions involved. However, I find myself no less immune to the seeming manic scope of feelings.

Whether you’re a recent graduate sorting through the range of options for the “what now?” or you’re mature in your career and life, or you’re something in between, you imaginably have been or are confronted with these same choices and corresponding emotional wavelengths. It has often been said that change is the only constant. Amidst change you need to find your constant. If change is inevitable, then to remain at peace during change means having an area of your life that provides refuge so you don’t get lost in the waves of change.

A couple weeks before I moved from Calgary to Langley to take a role in the Alumni & Community Engagement office at TWU, I spent five days with a great friend golfing, hiking and cycling. I also spent each early morning in prayer on a patio overlooking the Shuswap. It’s there that I began to map out what I would have to do to remain at peace while uprooting my entire life. In the last year, a time of morning devotions and prayer has become a constant and really the cornerstone of my entire life.

While prayer and devotions have been the solid foundation I still have several non-working hours to explore the wilderness of opportunity. This is where many feel that I am a bit unusual, although I think there is much that can be learned. For me, another constant is training for Ironman triathlons. For you, it could be an athletic outlet, an arts hobby, reading or a variety of options. Living somewhere new does mean that I have lost my usual training routes and I can no longer train on auto-pilot, but for me there’s something adventurous about spending three hours on my bike riding around rural roads with mountains, forests, rivers, farms and oceans as my backdrop. Some of my training runs are spent thinking and sorting through the day’s issues and other days it is a time of total escape. Either way, this time training is a constant for me in the midst of change.

No matter where the current is moving within the challenges of life there is a place of refuge found in the constant.

Joshua Marshall (’02-’04) is the Stewardship Director for BC at Trinity Western University. He likes training for Ironman Triathlons, enjoying the mountains and ocean and the performing arts with his girlfriend Tamara.